Academics

The Relationship between the Center and the Johnston Complex

The Relationship between The Center and the Johnston Complex

Johnston asks you to act on the educational philosophy is that learning and living go together. To that extent, the Johnston complex, consisting of Bekins and Holt halls, is home to about half of Johnston's students and the thirteen faculty members who have offices there. They: are available to talk with you about your classes, the weather, the meaning of life, and any existential crises you are facing.

Johnston as a community is not fixed, no will it ever be. It is important to understand that this fluid concept of community is integral to the Johnston living learning experience. Something so flexible and dynamic is bigger than all of us and there is no easy way to explain it, through many of us strive to do so. A person's take on the community is, as all things Johnston, dependent on what one's personal needs and interests are. Here are three perceptions of what "this thing called community" is:

“The community is very much like a family. Sometimes you love it, Sometimes, you hate it, but you're always connected to it. For me, the community has been an intense interpersonal education. I have learned how to take care of myself and others and how to feel connected to and responsible for people that I don't know (and sometimes don't like.) There is something really powerful about living, learning and playing with the same group of people; in a way, we all grow up together."
-Jen Bobrow, JC class of 2000

"What I enjoy most about the Johnston community is that it is an organism constantly in flux. With each year it changes, the people change, the issues change, the dynamics change. To some this remains an infuriating inconsistency, but I view it as an intriguing pursuit. Through all the change, there remains a constant: how to create a harmonious environment without stepping on anyone's rights? In Searching for the answer, the community transcends stereotypes, it eludes precise definition, and makes for the very kind of insanity that only a Johnstonian would subject him/herself to."
- T.J. Stutman, JC class of 2000

"Community is easy to describe in catch phrases; respect, responsibility, living learning; but it is indescribable in concrete terms, which brings us both the greatest frustration and largest asset of community. So what is community? It's a whole lot of work, for the most part. In Johnston, we make the simplest things difficult while managing the most insurmountable crises and problems easily, without a second thought. If you don't really want to be a part of a community, then don't-- go somewhere else on campus. But the fact is, if you want the privileges, Options, and all the Fun and mayhem that exists here, you need to have a stake in the community and be willing to accept some form of responsibility to it. Johnston will get your back, it will respect you, it will grant you the right to do whatever it is that you want most (within reason) but you may have to earn it first."
-E. Jason, JC class of 2001

Reading about the community will not provide an understanding of what it is, one needs to experience it in some fashion. It can be a surrogate family, an extension of the classroom, a social laboratory, a greenhouse for change, and an exercise in holistic learning and balance. Students and faculty who spend a good deal of time in the Complex form a cohesive community that cares about academic learning, social issues, human values, and each other. You should come here knowing that the community is not perfect, but is an experiment in progress. New students have power equal to older students, so you should never assume that there is any Johnston status quo that you must abide by. Learn about the community and Johnston, and then know that you have the power to change it.

We strongly encourage you to live in Bekins or Holt for at least two years. It's especially helpful to have a range of classes-first year students through seniors—represented on complex. JC students who live off complex also need to "hold their place" in community life through such options as participation in community meetings and events, social activities, curriculum building, course planning, committee work, working at the coffee house or desk sitting.


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