LDRS Initiative

The LDRS Initiative offers comprehensive programming for low-income, minority, and/or first generation freshman and sophomore students to strengthen academic performance through linked courses, academic coaching, success sessions, and academic advising while fostering a sense of community through retreats, service experiences and mentoring. Students are presented a unique opportunity to build a community of peers, develop leadership skills and become engaged in activities that will enhance their college experience and support each student’s goal to persist to graduation. The program is offered in two formats to meet each student’s unique need: A living community (for students living on-campus) and a learning community (for commuter students).



Early Orientation / Early Move In

LDRS participants are invited to move into the residence hall four days early to participate in a one and a half day Early Orientation Program to prepare them for the new realities of their college experience. Workshop topics include: study skills, time management, utilizing campus resources, setting a college budget, health and wellness, financial aid and payment plans, access to textbooks and course expectations. Concurrent session for parents and guardians are offered to help families prepare for and create a support system for their freshman student. Including parents and guardians in the orientation process is especially important for parents of first-generation college students.


The LDRS Initiative offers tutoring for students who face rather significant academic hurdles. Peer and professional tutoring and study time during the school week and weekend are offered to help foster exceptional
study skills and provide in-time support for students. While this component of the program is mostly optional, it can be required for students who struggle to fulfill course requirements or have low course grades at midterm.


Faculty/Staff Mentoring

The purpose of faculty and staff mentoring is to enhance and support the student’s educational experience. Monthly mentor meetings focus on improving student efficacy and academic goal setting. Stritch faculty and staff who self-identify as students of color, from low income backgrounds or a first generation student while attending college are invited to serve as mentors. Students typically meet with their mentors to receive one-on-one assistance with topics ranging from time management, finding on-campus employment, and working with professors, roommate conflicts, relationships with family, and even owning a first vehicle.

Academic Advising

Students participate in four one-hour advising sessions over the course of the academic year with a dedicated professional academic advisor. Two advising sessions (September, February) assess the students’ areas of concern and strength related to academic motivation, general coping, and receptivity to assistance. The academic advisor makes referrals to appropriate services, as needed. One session assists (December) students in selecting and registering for spring semester courses, how to utilize their advising worksheet, and understanding the major selection process. The final (April) session assists students in completing their long-range degree plan and ensures students are completing online course registration for fall.

Book Voucher

Lack of financial stability is a significant risk for students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds. To help alleviate financial burdens of LDRS students, a modest textbook voucher program is available to students that meet all program requirements and maintain a minimum 2.25 GPA in the fall semester and a 2.5 GPA in the spring semester.

Community Building 

Success Sessions/Community Meetings

Weekly Student Success Sessions are devoted to community building and information sharing for students and program staff. Staff and students share a meal together at the end of the academic week and address timely topics such as: academic skill building, time management, completing taxes and the FAFSA, financial literacy and budgeting, internships, and resume building. LDRS staff adapts each session agenda to ensure students receive relevant and timely information in an accessible and useful format.

Mid-Year Retreat

The off-campus retreat includes interactive cohort team and confidence building activities led by retreat center staff and interactive workshops led by LDRS staff. Team building activities include physical challenge activities and workshops and are centered on topics such as: transition to college, introduction to the learning community, goal setting for the semester, and relationship building within the cohort. The retreats help students develop a sense of belonging and confidence to begin their freshman year.


Service Projects

Stritch deeply values service to the community. LDRS students are required to participate in service experiences throughout the program, including service projects during New Student Orientation, the first year Fundamentals of Leadership class, January mid-year retreat and Stritch Service Day. LDRS students discuss and select the service experiences they would like to complete during year, as well as reflect upon their learning with their peers.


Students will have the opportunity to explore different concepts of leadership, their relationship to faith and religion, and develop the ability to think critically about the role of service leadership and how they engage in the world through the following:

Linked Courses

Students enroll in two linked courses: Fundamentals of Leadership and Faith Development, offered in the fall and spring semesters. The courses provide an academic and interactive introduction to the study of leadership in which students examine different concepts and philosophies of leadership, while exploring the relationship of self to service and faith. These linked courses include shared assignments and interdisciplinary activities, including a class trip with instructors to apply principles learned.

Speakers Series

The LDRS Speaker Series includes a fall and spring dinner presentation given by Stritch alumni who themselves were students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds, successfully completed postsecondary education and achieved significant accomplishments in their career. Alumni speakers for the 2014 – 2015 series include City of Milwaukee Alderman José Perez, ‘99 and New York Times bestselling author, Kimberla Lawson Roby, ‘93.

Apply to the LDRS Program

Please check all that apply: (must meet one of the following to qualify for LDRS):