The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Dormcubators’ for Fall 2014

Photo by Kelley Starnes The new living learning community will open Fall 2014, allowing entrepreneurial freshmen to build portfolios in Hullabaloo Hall.

Startup Aggieland and Residence Life have collaborated to bring a new living learning community, a “dormcubator,” to Hullabaloo Hall this fall. The program will allow selected freshmen to practice their entrepreneurial skills and build patent portfolios.
The idea for the Startup Living Learning Community, or Startup LLC, evolved from Startup Aggieland’s annual Ideas Challenge, said Shelly Brenckman, marketing manager for Startup Aggieland.
“It was an idea coming from a student in ideas challenge that placed third and won some money, and from that idea we moved it forward as a living learning community through residence life,” Brenckman said.
Brenckman said the idea behind the “dormcubator,” which is the first of its kind in the state, is to get students to cultivate ideas and entrepreneurial skills upon arriving at A&M their freshman year.
“They get to form their networks early,” Brenckman said. “We bring in entrepreneurs and patent attorneys and former students who were really successful and get them thinking about how their curriculum in all their classes applies to real life and what they can do with it now.”
Dr. Craig Rotter, assistant director of academic support initiatives for residence life, said this newest learning community is timely and will provide even more of a high-impact and learning experience for students.
“Being able to tie in that living component, where they all live together on campus at the heart of the Aggie experience, is phenomenal,” Rotter said. “They will never forget first year and will probably grow their continuing interest in their academics from living
“They will never forget first year and will probably grow their continuing interest in their academics from living together.”
The new LLC is similar to any other learning community at A&M except that it is interest-based and not based on their major, said Tara Schickedanz, sophomore business major, and a student worker.
“The point is to the meet the people that share the same interests and the people that you will be spending the rest of your four years at A&M with,” Schickedanz said.
A buiness course will be included as a part of the new LLC.
Startup Aggieland ran a pilot program, where students took a 200-level management course, from fall 2013 through spring 2014 to test and fine-tune the curriculum, Brenckman said.
“In all we had about 24 students go through the program through the fall and spring and it helped because we let them work with us to develop the curriculum and some of the programming that we were going to do in the coming year,” Brenckman said.
These pilot students then reviewed applications of incoming freshmen interested in the program.
“After going through that, we found what worked and what they didn’t like so we adapted the curriculum based on their input and then they actually sat and reviewed all of the applications for the students who were going into the dorm and the dormcubator this coming fall.”
One of the first programs this fall will be a code-a-thon. In addition to testing programming skills, this event will give the freshmen experience in working with a team, Brenckman said.
“A lot of these students don’t know how to write HTML or code so we’ll bring in our freshman developers to work with these students and form teams,” Brenckman said.
The new LLC will relocate to the new West Campus dorms in fall 2015 after a 2014-2015 school year in Hullabaloo Hall. In August of 2015, the residence hall is projected to move across the street from Start-up Aggieland’s office, Brenckman said.
“It will have a 350-foot auditorium for big programs, it will have a bookstore and a coffee shop and those will all be managed by students,” Brenckman said. “Plus we’ll have a green room where we can shoot kick starter videos and that kind of thing.”

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