HCN News & Notes

Springfield College Launches Students in Residence Program at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing have partnered in developing an intergenerational Students in Residence program. Graduate students enrolled in programs in the School of Health Sciences at Springfield College participate in the unique residential program, working with and learning from older adults. Julie Torchia and Allie Tupaj, both Springfield College doctoral of physical therapy students, are the inaugural participants.

“We are so excited about this partnership because we are looking forward to helping create sustainable programs that are mutually beneficial to both the residents at Loomis and the students,” said Springfield College School of Health Sciences Dean Brooke Hallowell. “As the students are engaged in projects here, they will be doing it in a way that is needed and meaningful, and that leads to lasting benefits for everyone involved.”

In time for the start of the fall semester, Torchia and Tupaj moved into a two-bedroom apartment at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing, a continuing-care retirement community located on the college’s East Campus. Living as members of the community, these students will each take leadership of ongoing partnership projects and will contribute to ongoing social and educational aspects of community living at Loomis Lakeside. 

Logging eight hours of community-engagement project work during each week when classes are in session at the college, the students will collaborate with residents and staff in all levels of living — independent living, assisted living, and skilled-nursing care — to develop and/or implement activities and programs that enhance the quality of life of residents at Loomis Lakeside and that further the mission of Springfield College.

“This program is going to be so meaningful to our students because they will learn a great deal about how to care for others, of all ages and abilities,” said Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper. “The residents at Loomis will provide such a valuable out-of-the-classroom experience that is critical for the development of our students. These out-of-the-classroom experiences are so important in helping develop the skillsets that our students need to be successful in whatever occupation they choose.”

The students’ projects are designed in collaboration with students, residents, Loomis Lakeside staff, and Springfield College faculty advisers. Projects may include any of a variety of educational, social, and physical activities, to address identified needs. An initial project entails creating an interest database to match residents and Springfield College students. Other projects may involve music, theater, art, fitness, recreation, wellness promotion and maintenance, communication facilitation, computer use, social media, smartphone use, fall prevention, and home safety.