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Why You Should Live in an RLP Your Freshman Year at UH

Ah, freshman year of college. It’s a time of change and excitement, new possibilities and beginnings. It can also be a nerve-racking experience, but it’s comforting to remember that everyone else is looking for new friendships and friendly faces, too.

Often we hear of the typical ways to make friends in college: clubs, classes, campus events, etc. At UH Manoa, however, students can opt to live in Residential Learning Programs (RLPs) their freshman year, a unique way to meet people with the same interests or major. RLPs place students on the same floor of a dorm that has a certain theme. Usually there are events planned throughout the year as well that fit in with this theme (more on this later). Listed below are the RLP’s offered at UH!

  • College of Business
  • College of Education
  • Health Professions
  • College of Natural Sciences
  • Travel Industry Management
  • Eō: College of Engineering
  • Honors
  • Hale Pa’akea (for students with interests in the Native Hawaiian experience in education)
  • Alice Ball (for students interested in African culture, history, and experience in the world)
  • Filipino Language and Culture
  • Japanese Language and Culture
  • Rainbow Village (for LGBTQ+ students)

As a freshman, I resided in the Natural Sciences RLP. Nearly everyone on my floor was either a marine biology or biology major, which meant most of us had our pre-requisite courses together. It was a great way to meet friends with shared interests and goals, study for exams together, and join/share extracurriculars and opportunities that were environmental- or ocean-themed with each other. Usually, floors will have events catered to the RLP theme as well. For the Natural Sciences RLP, we had the opportunity to visit the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology (Coconut Island), participate in hikes, and more. It really helped to get to know other students better while exploring the island and learning of volunteer and intern opportunities.

If you fit into one of the RLP’s above, I’d highly recommend applying for housing in that RLP community as a freshman! It takes away some of the unknown since you’ll be living with people that have shared interests, and you could make some great friends and memories. 

Ashley is currently a junior at Boston University. She is majoring in conservation and ecology biology with an interest in marine and wildlife conservation. In her free time she loves to practice yoga, read, create wellness content for her instagram @soulfullyashley, and surf when she can make it to the beach.