The First Year Living Experience

The "common living environment" has been a pillar of the Echols Program since its inception in 1960. Indeed, the Program derives its name from the fact that the first Scholars were housed in Echols Dormitory on McCormick Road. Since it is assumed that much learning takes place outside the classroom, the architects of the Program realized that daily interaction among avid learners would facilitate the development of a sense of community, engage novel thinking and ideas, provide support via peer advising. This was the spirit of Jefferson’s original academical village and one we seek to replicate.

Echols Scholars are currently housed in the Balz-Dobie and Tuttle-Dunnington residence halls on Alderman Road during their first year. Echols Scholars are housed with Rodman Scholars, the Honors students in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and College Science Scholars, creating a unique residential experience.

A Graduate Assistant lives in the Echols residence and works with the Scholars in an advising and programmatic capacity, coordinating academic events specifically designed to enhance the first year living experience. The current Graduate Assistant is Tierre Sanford, a PhD candidate in Slavic Language and Literatures. To learn more about the programming offered in the residence hall by the Graduate Assistant, please follow this link: http://jennifernicolegrayburn.com/echols-residential-programs/.

In addition, Resident Assistants, many of whom are Echols Scholars themselves, also reside in the residence halls and host special programs throughout the first year. In annual surveys of graduating Echols Scholars, we hear repeatedly that the common first-year living experience was of decisive importance to their personal and academic development at the University.

While Echols Scholars are not required to live in the Echols housing area, they are strongly encouraged to select this option on the first year housing application. We believe that the common living experience offers students the chance to broaden their intellectual horizons and meet exciting and curious new friends from around the world. Since making roommate requests with friends who are not eligible for housing in the Scholars residence cannot be honored, students interested in living in the Echols residence are discouraged from doing so. Requests for consideration of special needs or extenuating circumstances should be directed to the Office of Housing & Residence Life [http://www.virginia.edu/housing/].