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Students pushed to 'Thrive' in reinvented living-learning community

May 31, 2016

A male and female student engage in conversation on Virginia Tech's campus
Students living in Thrive have the opportunity to live and learn among like-minded peers structuring their time at Virginia Tech based on their engagement with strengths, the Aspirations for Student Learning, and their unique Keystone Experience.

This fall, the Thrive living-learning community, available to students of all majors and all years, will take up residence in the recently renovated Pritchard Hall.

Thrive is designed for students ready and willing to engage with the questions, “Where will you be in five years, and how will you build your Virginia Tech experience with that in mind?” With its intention to foster a supportive mentoring community, Thrive exists to help students develop concrete plans to build a future that aligns with their unique vision for themselves.

Whether students are interested in pursuing study abroad, seeking an internship, taking on leadership positions, engaging in research, or simply enhancing their well-being, all residents of Thrive will identify goals, pathways, and resources to enact their plans. Thrive students will gain special access to resources and coaching to engage in critical conversations that tailor their Virginia Tech experience to them. Utilizing the Keystone Experience as a guide and lens, students will rely on engagement with the Aspirations for Student Learning and their strengths to create their future.

Casey Feher of Midlothian, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, joined the Thrive student leadership team in the spring semester after a difficult first few months at Virginia Tech.

“I had a really rough experience my first semester,” Feher said. “I ended up being so overwhelmed and sick that I had to go home, and for months, I had no idea if I’d even consider going back. When I did eventually decide to go back to Tech, I applied to Thrive on a whim, really. I’d heard of it and thought that maybe it could provide a better environment for me to return to.

“In joining Thrive, I found a place where I can live and have a home. Because of Thrive, I have a place where I belong and can be successful. And the best part of it is that Thrive will continue to invest in me in such an individualized way that I have no doubt that this fall will be worlds better than last fall.”

The development of students stems from the Thrive Five, five areas that students can pursue through Thrive in community and class activities. The Thrive Five include adulting, creating, developing, engaging, and growing.

Students will concentrate in one of these distinct, yet interconnected, areas and can choose a secondary area to dive into as well.

  • Adulting — being, maximizing, and taking responsibility
  • Creating — building, designing, and expressing
  • Developing — educating, mentoring, and journeying with others
  • Engaging — leading, serving, and advocating
  • Growing — living, evolving, and flourishing

Students in the Thrive community will be enrolled in a three-credit course during the fall semester designed to answer three critical questions: Who am I? What is here for me at Virginia Tech? and How can I best thrive?

The goal of Thrive is to help students build their dreams while developing concrete skills that enhance their employability. The curriculum and activities will give students an opportunity to strengthen and develop skills in social media, communication, and creative and design thinking skills.

Gabby Bomberg of Alexandria, Virginia, a sophomore majoring in human development in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, will join the Thrive community this fall.

“Oscar Wilde wrote, ‘To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist.’ I see the college experience as a time to change my existence,” said Bomberg. “If I graduate in 2019 with great knowledge in a singular discipline and a mastery of how to not burn popcorn, I would merely have existed here at Virginia Tech. I hope that adding Thrive to my experiences will allow me to truly live and become a fulfilled, cultured, and, of course, knowledgeable Hokie!”

To apply to join Thrive, visit the living-learning communities application website.

For more information, contact Taran Cardone, Thrive program director and director of strengths-based learning.

Written by Holly Paulette.

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