The Listen, Live & Learn initiative (LLL) is the flagship residential experience offered by Stellenbosch University to senior students.  By providing a unique residential and immersive experiential learning opportunity for the participants, LLL aims to:

  • Actively work towards a better understanding of social cohesion in South Africa

  • Establish & enhance graduate attributes

  • Promote diversity in all forms

  • Foster a spirit of participation & engagement

  • Promote discussion of issues

  • Strengthen the University community

Students who apply and are accepted to the initiative are placed with other students in one of the themed LLL houses with the express aim of engaging with each other and their house mentor (a member of staff or civil society with expertise/interest in the chosen theme), throughout the year. The theme, which is a complex issue of importance, serves as a common interest or focal point for discussions with each other, the house mentor & invited guests (some of the 2018 house themes were gender equality, nature conservation, technology & innovation, transformative and ethical leadership, education & community empowerment). All house themes are grouped together according to a meta-theme to ensure engagement and collaboration between the LLL village and free-standing houses. Placements in each of the themed houses are done to maximise diversity in terms of race, gender, nationality & faculty of study to ensure diversity of thoughts, experiences & perspectives. Students participating in LLL discover vastly different perspectives of others and issues while having the unique opportunity to form friendships, to engage with experts on the theme of their house, connect with their house mentor and run a small house project.

LLL seeks to foster a culture of life-long learning, promoting active citizenship, encouraging change agency and using knowledge and innovation to create sustainable solutions to influence the South African reality and the world at large. LLL provides an alternative living and learning model for transformation in Higher Education senior residential spaces based on regular conversations and critical dialogue. LLL is fundamentally changing and shaping our ideas of what living and learning environments in Higher Education can look like. It is continuously creating new norms in which engagement opportunities amongst university stakeholders are created and encouraged.

The LLL initiative fully supports and endorses Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study or STIAS's view that:

"It is critical to nurture a future generation of independent thinkers and leaders. Leaders are those who not only understand the realities of a changing world, but who also have the ability and skills to implement these new advances to the benefit of their communities."

*Senior students refer to students in their 3rd academic year or later, however, for the purpose of this application, students registered for a post-graduate degree will get preference. Students living in LLL houses in 2017 are required to reapply if they want placement in 2019 with the understanding that no special preference is given to current participants. A student can make use of the senior student accommodation offered by the SU for a maximum number of three years and must be younger than 27 years.

LLL Values

1. Embracing Diversity and Difference (Listen): The Listen, Live & Learn Initiative is committed to meaningfully embracing diversity and difference in all its forms.

1.1 Active listening is the core value of LLL, enabling us to embrace diversity in all its manifestations.
1.2 LLL values ideological pluralism and aims to create a safe space for all perspectives as well as develop a deeper understanding of the multiple identities, truths and realities.
1.3 LLL nurtures reasoned disagreement and principled dissent.
1.4 LLL encourages a non-conformist and fluid residential space, thereby allowing for multiple interpretations of what it means to Listen, Live & Learn
1.5 LLL supports a deep understanding of and commitment to the value of Ubuntu, going beyond tolerance to seeing our own existence as contingent upon that of different others.
1.6 LLL presents the opportunity for all LLLrs to truly understand the value of diversity and that in order to make a change in the spaces we navigate; there is the need for constructive dialogue and engagement.

2. Belonging in community (Live): Listen, Live & Learn is committed to fostering a place of belonging where students can express their identities authentically.

2.1 LLL aspires to be a living community whose residents feel a strong connection to one another and the community as a whole.
2.2 LLL values relationships as the foundation of a place of belonging. Relationships in LLL should be characterised by:

• Compassion: assumption of positive intent attuned to the perspective of the other individual(s) in question.
• Acceptance: embracing the unique identity of each LLLr
• Reconciliation: choosing to be in community even it requires forgiveness or compromise
• Nurture and Empathy: supporting and encouraging housemates
• Growth and Development: challenging one another to go into zones of discomfort and instability

2.3 LLL is committed to learning to understand and acknowledge the lived experiences of others in creating living spaces that are affirming, nurturing, accepting, empathetic and compassionate.

3. The pursuit of knowledge (Learn): Listen, Live & Learn aims to create a space where experiential learning and disciplinary knowledge are equally important.

3.1 LLL upholds co-curricular learning as a key component of a transformative education and aims to create an environment where this learning is valued and actively pursued
3.2 LLL values disciplinary diversity and encourages students to engage and collaborate with different disciplines through the theme and house project.