Academic Success & Critical Thinking
Our knowledge and practice is rooted in research showing that living on campus is one factor contributing to gains in critical thinking (Gellin, 2003) and that first-year students living on campus have higher GPAs than students living off campus (Nicpon et. al, 2007). At CSB, 81 percent of our students agreed or strongly agreed that living on campus encouraged them to be academically successful as measured in a Student Voice Survey conducted in Spring 2006. Similarly, almost 79 percent of students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that living on campus helped them to utilize and participate in academic and other services on campus.
Social Interactions & Satisfaction
Living on campus is also significantly related to student satisfaction among college women (Bean & Vesper, 1994). Additional studies show that living on campus enhances students' social interactions by providing them with opportunities to develop friendships (Christie & Dinham, 1990). In the same Student Voice Survey mentioned above nearly 84 percent of the CSB students surveyed reported that living on campus led to opportunities to interact and meet other students.
Residence hall programming has an important role in the residential experience. We learned from the same survey that 70 percent of the respondents reported that they had attended a residence hall program and almost 78 percent agreed or strongly agreed that residence hall programs aided in their adjustment to the campus community. Similarly, nearly 78 percent of the CSB students surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that residence hall programs gave them an opportunity to interact with other students.
The College of Saint Benedict has made a strong commitment to increasing the intercultural competency of our students, faculty and staff and seeks to enroll a student body that is diverse in terms of racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. The Department of Residential Life is a key participant in this process. Optimal residential experiences promote and engage students in their understanding of cultural identity and their appreciation of human difference. Living on campus is significantly related to students' higher levels of openness to diversity, and positive and inclusive attitudes towards diversity (Pike, 2002; Pascarella & Terenzini, 2005).
More than 40 percent of CSB respondents reported in the Student Voice Survey that living on campus increased their understanding of racial and ethnic diversity and over 50 percent reported that living on campus increased their understanding of gender issues. Living on campus also led to over 50 percent of the students surveyed reporting that they interacted with people from cultures different than their own and more than 65 percent reported interacting with people whose faiths were different from their own.