New Interfaith Living Learning Community comes to SIU

By Lakendria Kenner

New to campus is a faith based living learning community on the 17th floor of Schneider Hall. Like other communities on campus, it is designed for people to connect with one another, and grow in their faith while away at college.

Priciliano Fabian, a grad student in higher education from Alto Pass, founded the facility.

“I felt a lot of friendships there,” he said. “It was a great way to network and a great way to build a community, a safe community where you didn’t feel like you had to do the typical drinking and things like that as typical students may do or participate in.”


As a graduate student, Fabian felt having a safe place for students who want to continue in their faith while away at college would be a good idea. Fabian said as a freshman he participated in many registered students organizations and through them, met Sherry Smedeshammer, the director of the Wesley Foundation, and approached her with the idea.

“We designated space in Schneider Hall for the community, helped promote it to new and returning students, and helped Sherry and Priciliano when they had questions,” said Gena Stack of University Housing.

Stack said Fabian and Smedshammer continue to work with the residence life staff in Schneider, to plan events and programs for residents of the living learning communities. Both have similair goals for the program, which is still in its infancy.

The two hope the facility can bring religions together and also be a safe haven where students can build their faith, seek guidance when they need it and find a home away from home.

Smedeshammer said she has extended herself to the residents of the program, and is assisting in any way possible.

“With the floor we hope to be very intentional about exposing students to all of the religious RSO’s on campus, and just really explore the different faiths that they will be exposed to in conference,” she said.

Smedeshammer and Fabian alike believe students should visit the churches that feed them spiritually. They just let the students know what is available to them.


“It’s not about getting people at Wesley or a certain denomination,” she said. “But its really about just helping them grow in their faith and so the purpose of that is to expose them to what campus has to offer them for their faith journey and show them different ways to connect their faith with their education.”

Fabian says response to the program has been well received; he has filled all 45 of the available beds. He hopes to make more room available in the future. He says at this point he is just seeing what meets the resident’s needs. He expressed the desire to perhaps bring speakers or events in for the residents, or have activities such as movie night.

The application process is the same as other housing applications, and Fabian expressed that the program is open to everyone.