Residence Life

Residence Life is one of four functional units within University Residences. Other units consist of Business and Information Systems, Facilities, and Occupancy, Communication and Administrative Services.

Learn more about each of our residential areas through Explore the Buildings and by visiting Residential Communities.

University Residences Initiative for Student Engagement (URISE)

Educational Priority

Students living on campus learn to embrace multiple perspectives. Our residents engage as members of a diverse and inclusive community, through a vision of a just and equitable local, national, and global society. As a result of living at Western, students develop skills for personal wellness and professional readiness, as they prepare for their careers.

Learning Goals

Building inclusive communities

Residence Life will promote inclusive community-building by intentionally engaging with staff and students

Career preparedness

Residence Life will have a deliberate focus on students’ career preparedness through a variety of co-curricular activities and conversations.

Personal Wellness

Residence Life will provide students with opportunities to aid in personal wellness behaviors focused on three main areas: healthy relationships, stress management, and conflict resolution.

Theoretical Frameworks

Community Based Learning

Community-based learning is a teaching and learning strategy integrating meaningful community engagement with instruction and reflection. This strategy enriches the learning experience with a greater emphasis on reciprocal learning and reflection.

Strengths Based Approach (SBA)

Grounded in complex positive psychology research, the strength-based approach (SBA) boils down to a simple rule: focus on what students do well. It feels natural to do the opposite because working on areas of weakness may seem like the best way to help students grow. Research shows people respond infinitely better when approached with positivity, both in terms of their continued engagement, motivation and ultimately their behavior change. This is especially the case with students coming from backgrounds seen as deficit driven.

This approach is not used to ignore weaknesses or necessary areas of improvement but to start with a positive lens when viewing oneself or others. In all conversations and interactions with staff and students, we strive to model an approach focusing on individual self-determination and strength. The SBA is student-led and student-centered on outcomes to allow students to see themselves at their best. This approach identifies any barriers that may hold back a student's growth. Barriers can occur when dealing with social, personal and/or cultural issues that are not equitable.

Community Cultural Wealth

Residence Life utilizes Dr. Tara Yosso’s conceptualization of Community Cultural Wealth as a critical race theory (CRT) challenge to traditional interpretations of cultural capital. CRT shifts the research lens away from a deficit view of Communities of Color as places full of cultural poverty disadvantages. Instead, we focus on and learn from the array of cultural knowledge, skills, abilities and contacts possessed by socially marginalized groups that often go unrecognized and unacknowledged. Various forms of capital nurtured through cultural wealth include aspirational, navigational, social, linguistic, familial and resistant capital.