A new Spanish and Portuguese Living Learning Community has entered its planning stage. Scheduled to start in the 2015-2016 academic year, the LLC marks Georgetown’s second Romance language-based community.

“The main goal of the floor is to give Spanish and Portuguese students a place to develop their language skills and understanding of different cultures,” proponent Caitriona Pagni (SFS ’16) said. “Real mastery of a language doesn’t occur in a classroom setting.”

The potential LLC would not only allow students to acquire language skills, but also would gain exposure to Spanish and Portuguese cultures, Pagni added.

With the help of the Spanish and Portuguese department and the Spanish and Portuguese Club, the Office of Residential Living and Pagni surveyed interest in the LLC.

The survey, sent out in November, resulted in 56 percent of the 88 responses as “probably interested” or “definitely interested.”

According to Pagni, a potential faculty advisor for the LLC with experience in Spanish and Portuguese is being sought out.

“His or her role would be to help guide the floor’s RA and residents when they plan floor events,” Pagni said.

Due to the strong student-led initiative and student interest for the LLC, the future of the floor appears strong.

“The department is very pleased that this is a student-led initiative,” Spanish and Portuguese Department Chair Gwen Kirkpatrick said. “Being student-initiated means that the formation of the community will be sensitive to student issues, not just issues that faculty might think are important. We hope that the department could be a source of support and continuity for the community over the long term.”

Kirkpatrick noted that students interested in becoming a part of community floor will not be limited to non-fluent speakers.

“Of course many students want to study abroad in Brazil and Portugal, as well as in Spanish-speaking countries. Spanish and Portuguese speakers who speak these languages as their first language may also be interested,” Kirkpatrick said.

For many students, the option to live on a Spanish and Portuguese LLC will enable them to find a close cultural community on campus.

“I’m Venezuelan, but I’ve never actually lived in a Spanish environment before. It’d be wonderful if I could be a part of this new community, so that I could find my roots. I think the Spanish and Portuguese LLC is a great idea, and I hope to make the most out of it myself,” Eduardo Morles (COL ‘17).

The specific location is yet to be determined, but it is expected to house 20 to 30 students. The French Living Learning Community, located in Copley Hall, is being used as a point of reference for the Spanish and Portuguese floor.

Created three years ago, the French Floor is regarded as successful in fostering an intimate environment where French and Francophone culture can be shared.

“We have learned a lot about what kinds of activities students enjoy doing, about how to create a sense of community among the students and about how to take advantage of all of the French and Francophone resources Washington, D.C. has to offer,” French Floor Advisor Anne O’Neil-Henry said.

The Spanish and Portuguese LLC additionally aims to engage diverse resources for the benefit of the LLC community.

“The theme of community activities will definitely be diversity,” Pagni said. “Part of the reason I fell in love with the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking world is that every country I visited has a distinct character and I hope residents of the LLC would constantly engage this diversity.”

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