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New humanities living-learning program to be housed in Collins

Jan 24, 2022

The renovated Collins Living-Learning Center at IU Bloomington will reopen this fall, offering upgrades and new opportunities for students.

Students applying to live at the Ralph L. Collins Living-Learning Center for the fall semester will have the option to be part of the new ACT Humanities Program, which promotes the integration of “action, community and thought” as the foundation of student training. The ACT Humanities Program will open in fall 2022 as Collins reopens to students after a $23 million renovation project.

A three-story residence hall made of limestone with trees in front of the building.
The Ralph L. Collins Living-Learning Center on the IU Bloomington campus.Photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities

Collins is Indiana University Bloomington’s most historic residence hall. Constructed in the 1920s, the three buildings – Smith, Edmondson and Cravens – feature Tudor-style architecture. The renovation included the installation of air conditioning, new ventilation systems, electrical upgrades, fire suppression, and updates to the food service areas and kitchen. Due to construction, the residence hall was unoccupied for the entirety of the 2021-22 school year. It will reopen in the 2022 fall semester, along with the new ACT Humanities Program, which will be located in the Smith building. Housing applications for Collins open in February.

Residents enrolled in the humanities program will enjoy Collins’ upgraded facilities and resources while also having access to the Cook Center for Public Arts and Humanities, unique behind-the-scenes experiences with campus humanities programs, and career workshops with alumni and other experts. Internship and travel opportunities related to students’ career plans will also be provided.

“The year 2022 is a momentous one for Collins,” said Lara Kriegel, the center’s director. “It is the 50th anniversary of our living-learning center, which is rich with traditions and customs. It is also an occasion to emphasize our ongoing commitments to the humanities and to undergraduate education. We look forward to welcoming the ACT Humanities Program to our home at the corner of 10th and Woodlawn, where its students will join the larger Collins community in a simultaneously time-honored and innovative endeavor.”

The humanities program is one facet of a comprehensive humanities recruitment initiative from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Arts and Humanities Council. The initiative will also include new campus tours, in-person recruitment days, student activity fairs and a student ambassador program.

Directed by Ed Dallis-Comentale, the initiative builds off the strength of multiple campus units, including the Walter Center for Career Achievement, the College Recruitment Office, the Collins Living-Learning Center, and Residential Programs and Services. It draws extensively on approaches and resources recently developed by the Arts and Humanities Council, especially its extensive programs in public humanities, and the Cook Center, which will serve as a central hub for recruitment activities.

“The Bloomington campus has become a national leader in public humanities, and programs such as First Thursdays and Global Remixed have become central to our sense of community on campus,” Dallis-Comentale said. “It is now time to put our model to work for undergraduate recruitment and use it to advance our students as lifelong practitioners and supporters of humanities.”

Together, the recruitment initiative and ACT Humanities at Collins will promote a new, more active version of humanistic training. Program organizers hope to recruit students committed to self-cultivation and mindful social action. In turn, students will gain opportunities to use their training in ways that speak to their real-world goals and interests, with an eye toward professional success, community change and civic imagination.

“Interest in the arts and humanities by students, whether as majors or as a more holistic student experience, has always been a core strength of the Collins LLC,” said Rick Van Kooten, executive dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are excited to have ACT Humanities be a more visible resource to engage them and bring students to the College.”

Information about the ACT Humanities program can be found via the Collins Living-Learning Center. For comments and questions regarding the new program, contact the Arts and Humanities Council at or Collins staff at .

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