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The Residential Experience Framework

Residential Services utilizes a unique Residential Framework to conceptualize the experience we provide to all residents.   

The Residential Framework is:  
  • A structure that we utilize to think about the Residential Experience 
  • Focused on the holistic experiences from an individual level to the Residential Area level 
  • Grounded in pillars and learning outcomes that intentionally guide student engagement and programmatic efforts 
The Residential Framework is comprised of:  
  • Communities 
    • People 
  • Opportunities 
    • Programs 
    • Resources 
  • Amenities 
    • Spaces 
    • Services 
Included in the Residential Framework are levels of community: 
  • Room/suite 
  • Floor 
  • Residence Hall or Residential College 
  • Residential Area
  • Northwestern University 

Students can choose to engage in different levels of community at different times throughout their day and for different reasons. Each level may meet different needs and provide different opportunities.  

Pillars of the Residential Framework 

  • Community and Belonging
    • All students must have equal opportunities to participate fully, regardless of their campus residence or school.  Each student joins the Northwestern community with multiple identities and life experiences that inform how they engage with the residential experience and each other.  Their residential area can serve as a point of connection, engagement, and affinity. Each building community is designed to provide students with a feeling of home and offer safe, secure, and comfortable spaces to connect with a diverse group of peers.
      • Examples: Developing a sense of residential area identity and affinity; Participating in events that encourage Northwestern affinity; A sense of home; Safe, secure, and comfortable spaces to connect with a diverse peer group 
  • Care and Support
    • Central to the residential experience is support for students’ academic success, personal development, and emotional well-being. Students will have access to a network of care and support that can help them thrive at Northwestern through connections with faculty, staff, and peers. Each student will be introduced to campus resources that can enhance their opportunity for success and a sense of belonging on campus.   
      • Examples: Campus partner programming that introduces students to various campus resources and opportunities; Access to a variety of faculty and staff members to allow students to form a network of support; Exposure to programming that encourages personal growth and reflection 
  • Student Agency
    • Students must have agency to shape their own experiences. Students can choose to engage based on their personal interests and goals through the communities, opportunities, and amenities of the residential area.  Individual student agency can be developed through multiple experiences and programs, including leadership and employment, engagement with faculty, accountability and community standards, personal identity exploration, and participation in a community comprised of individuals from diverse backgrounds.   
      • Examples: Participation in the room selection process; Access and participation in programming intentionally designed to serve the needs of first-year and second-year students; Influence and become active leaders in the area through student-led initiatives and governance; Navigating conflict, dissonance, ethical decision making, and problem-solving 
  • Academic Linkages
    • The residential experience provides a flexible framework where students can combine their academic, co-curricular, and social lives. With optional residence-based courses and academic support programs, students can learn surrounded by peers close to their campus home. Faculty-in-Residence, residential college faculty, residential instructors, and academic partners engage with students to facilitate a broader understanding of one another, provide access, awareness, and exposure to essential services and the opportunity to develop lasting relationships.   
      • Example: Availability of nearby academic courses within residential spaces; Access to residence-based tutoring within each residential area; Access to at least one Faculty-in-Residence 
  • Equity, Justice, and Inclusion 
    • Equity, justice, and inclusion are central to the residential experience. Each student joins the Northwestern community with multiple identities and life experiences that inform how they engage with the residential experience and each other. Living on campus can expose students to beliefs, experiences, and conversations that may challenge and change an individual’s perspective while simultaneously embracing the traditions and culture everyone brings with them. All members of the residential community must have access to fully engage in the opportunities provided.   
      • Examples: Access to common amenities and programming across the residential areas; Residents have full access to programmatic opportunities with no additional financial obligations; Engage in community activities that are intentionally grounded in diversity, equity, & justice; Exposure to conversations and programming that invite residents to share their lived experiences; Access to gender-affirming housing options within each residential area.