La Casa has been able to use Residence Life and Learning Community funds to both support the academic and social environment of the learning community and also create events that serve to teach members and other students about the Latin American and Spanish cultures. Each event is organized by groups of learning community members to include strategic learning goals while also remaining interesting to the specific interests of the participants. Students build leadership skills while creating and realizing their events for the benefit of other students. Additionally, La Casa members are encouraged to mingle with other learning communities, especially those also located in Colonnades A Building, and invite them to our events. This atmosphere creates a stage for large and successful learning events that complement the Spanish theme of the community.
With the help of Residence Life and Learning Community funds, La Casa has developed several traditions throughout the years. For example, La Casa journeys to Raleigh's Latin American festival, "Fiesta del Pueblo," each year. This event serves to teach students about the differences between the many Latin American countries. Also, funds are used each fall and spring to prepare and host a celebration dinner to mark the return and departure of participants studying abroad. The dinner generally follows the theme of a particular Spanish-speaking country: authentic food and decorations from that country are used as learning tools for the students. During the dinner, students share their experiences and expectations for their learning experiences abroad with impromptu "elevator speeches," and audio-visual presentations.
La Casa is dedicated to following a syllabus that allows each member to prepare a special cultural or learning event for the community. The money used for these events comes from Learning Community funds or, when no money is available, from floor collections/donations. La Casa functions as a family, and it is not uncommon for students to use their personal money to realize their event when community money is in short supply. It is our belief that these events, spread throughout the semester, function as the cornerstone to the La Casa learning community. Without them La Casa would not exist as it does today.
Residence in the La Casa Learning Community is in high demand for students at Elon University. Many students have remained in the community for three or four years. Notably, this year La Casa includes five seniors and five juniors. This is an unusually high proportion of upperclassman as most juniors and seniors chose to live off-campus during their third and fourth years at Elon. This strong background and following allows for mentorship between La Casa's underclassmen and upperclassmen, and has been crucial for maintaing the learning community's values and beliefs. It is our hope that La Casa's traditions are maintained for some time to come.