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Living the Liberal Arts

By Contributing Writer on December 4, 2015

Founding members of the Ciccone Commons celebrate the naming of Colgate’s first residential commons.

We hope that you’ve seen Vice President and Dean of the College Suzy Nelson’s recent Huffington Post article, “On Living the Liberal Arts.” Colgate’s Living the Liberal Arts initiative is well underway with several on-campus changes aimed at promoting a learning environment of inclusivity and diversity, beginning with the launch of the university’s first residential commons.

Led by University Chaplain Mark Shiner and Professor of Psychology Rebecca Shiner, Ciccone Commons opened this fall in Curtis and Drake residence halls, with an annex at 100 Broad Street. About 200 members of the Class of 2019 and 200 members of the Class of 2018 live in Curtis and Drake, and around 40 sophomores, juniors, and seniors live in the annex.

In early November, residents of the commons voted to name the community in honor of Diane Ciccone ’74, P’10, a trustee emerita, accomplished lawyer and journalist, and member of the first class of women to graduate from Colgate. Ciccone’s lifelong commitment to Colgate has played an instrumental role in advancing the university’s liberal arts mission. You can read more about Ciccone and the commons here.

The aim of the commons is “to foster a stronger sense of community among students and between students and the broader community at Colgate … to create communities where every student is known and cherished by a group of other students, staff, and faculty,” Professor Shiner said. “The commons bridge the world of learning and the residential experience at Colgate by offering opportunities to connect with faculty and to continue intellectual engagement outside the classroom.”

The commons hosts a variety of academic, social, and recreational activities for its members. Event highlights include afternoon teas with first-year seminars, bagel brunches, volunteer work, special lectures by professors, and public parties at 100 Broad Street.

The second commons is scheduled to open for the 2016–2017 academic year, pending renovations next summer in the Bryan Complex and 104 Broad Street. All Colgate students will be part of one of four commons within the next several years.

“The commons present us with an incredible opportunity,” said University Chaplain Mark Shiner. “We get to leverage Colgate’s academic and social resources to improve students’ quality of life and sense of connectedness.”

“My favorite part about living in the commons,” said first-year student Alex Goldych, “is the community that I have been able to help form. The open spaces and common areas allow for a true learning-living experience.”

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