Why I Choose to Live on Trinity

If you’ve lived on campus at UVM, chances are, you were probably placed in a learning community. Learning communities were designed to bring students with a common interest together. Each learning community has a full-time staff to help support students and coordinate events and activities around their common theme. Among the nine current learning communities is Arts and Creativity, located on Trinity Campus.

Let’s address the elephant in the room: Trinity is…… not the most popular choice of campus to live on. At this point, I anticipate the sympathetic expressions on people’s faces when I tell them that I live here. But something that they don’t usually expect to hear is I’ve been a Trinity resident for two years now, going on three, and I wouldn’t- and haven’t tried to- choose anywhere else to be. And if you ask most residents, you’ll find that many people who lived on Trinity their first year choose to stay for their second year too. 

Why? To delve into what makes Arts and Creativity so special, I attended our weekly tea club and spoke with a few members of the community.

As UVM student and programming assistant Ellie puts it, there are many “beautiful things that make Trinity shine.” Ellie, a current junior, lived on Trinity for two years before moving off campus as an upperclassman. In their role as a programming assistant, Ellie helps the programming faculty get an idea of what students are interested in and helps coordinate events for students to attend. When asked about their favorite part about living on Trinity, they simply answered “the people.” As a nursing major, Ellie originally chose to live in the Arts and Creativity community in order to expand upon their passion for music and the arts that they’ve had for their entire life, without having to study it academically. Ellie says that there is an immediate bond between everyone who lives on Trinity.

They attribute part of this to the separation from Central Campus and the other residential campuses. They say that this separation makes Trinity feel like its own smaller community within UVM and brings people closer together. One of Ellie’s fondest memories related to Trinity is seeing the band “McAuley Kart” open for Yung Gravy at Fall Fest in 2022, after watching the band form, come up with their name based on a shopping cart on the roof of one of Trinity’s buildings and seeing them gain popularity. There is a sense of camaraderie between Trinity residents that is difficult to replicate. Ellie currently lives with the people they met in their first year on Trinity and will continue to live with them next year. As they put it, “Trinity creates lifelong friends.” 

This sentiment is shared by Shae and Micalee, the program coordinator and program director for Arts and Creativity. In their roles, they work closely together to bring programming aligning with the themes of Arts and Creativity to Trinity and support overall success and wellbeing for its students. They both agree that the thing that makes Trinity and the Arts and Creativity learning community work as well as it does is the passion of the people involved in it. Shae and Micalee may be new to Trinity this year, but the community came with a “legacy,” as Micalee put it. A+C has always pushed for student created and student led programming, giving students the opportunity to shape their learning community into what they want it to be. Tea Club is an example of a student-brainstormed Trinity tradition that’s been happening for years that Shae and Micalee have continued on, but they are also focused on bringing even more opportunities to students.

This year, their main goal has been to destigmatize the “hoity toity” energy of the arts. They want students of all different skill and experience levels to be able to utilize the arts as an outlet in their lives and believe that anyone can and should create art. They encourage students to give art a try through structured events, as well as in more casual, “drop-in” settings, such as their weekly open studio hours where students are provided with materials to create whatever types of art they want to in a judgment-free setting. Noticing the many student bands living on Trinity and wanting to give them a space to practice and foster their love for music, Shae and Micalee also made a music room accessible to students this year- and it’s become one of the most utilized spaces on campus. Having a staff that cares so in-tune with the students on campus and those students being so involved and passionate about the programming the staff creates is the perfect recipe that makes A+C such a successful community. 

Location-wise, there are a lot of pros to Trinity that you may not initially think of. Everyone at tea club was in consensus that most people who diss Trinity are “the people that don’t live here and will never set foot on Trinity.” One of the biggest arguments against Trinity is its distance from Central Campus, but when you actually break it down, Trinity is roughly the same distance from Central Campus as Redstone Campus is. Something that Shae mentioned being grateful for about Trinity is its actual physical infrastructure. There are many spaces for students to hang out on Trinity, both indoors and outdoors and these spaces also double as ideal event venues.

The overall takeaway everyone had for me about Trinity was “don’t diss it ’til you try it.” But also, as one resident put it “keep Trinity niche.” After all, Trinity’s strength lies in its small and close knit community. It’s an exceptional place and I’m so glad I get to continue living in it.

<3 Emily I.