Residential Program

Fill out Residential Program Interest Form

The Elzinga Residential Scholars Program, named after UVA economics professor and former Study Center board member Ken Elzinga, was established in the early 2000s, and continues today under the guidance of the Study Center’s Directors of Undergraduate Ministries, Ethan and Katie Hightower. There are three primary components of the Elzinga Residential Scholars Program: community, consistency, and character formation—all rooted in the gospel. 


God made people to be with one another. This program brings together people from different Grounds ministries, years, and backgrounds to form a residential community with the central commonality of commitment to Christ. The eight male participants live together at the Study Center and the twelve female students live in the “Yellow House” next door. They have regular house meetings for sharing and prayer, gather on a weekly basis for Thursday dinners, and participate in a community retreat. 


College is a very transient time, full of transitions. This program seeks to provide and encourage consistent participation and engagement in an intentional community. Residents celebrate together, mourn together, and deal with conflict together. Above all, they belong to each other. They are also in consistent mentoring relationships with an older Christian who can offer perspective and care for them. 

Character Formation

Participation in the consistent community of this program is formative for residents, helping them grow to be more like Christ. Through each aspect of the program, residents are encouraged to grow in their knowledge of Scripture and their faith in God. These opportunities include participating in a biblical theology class taught by Ethan and Katie Hightower that explores the overarching story of the Bible, attending lectures hosted by the Study Center, being mentored by an older Christian, and gathering together to worship each week at dinner. They are also encouraged to connect with a Grounds ministry at UVA, as well as a local church body.

Program Elements for 2019-20

Community Retreat

Connection with other residents and the program directors (mid-August).

Thursday Dinners

Meals prepared by residents on a rotating basis and shared together (Thursdays, 5:30 p.m.)

Fall Course: CASKET EMPTY - God's Plan of Redemption Through History 

Taught by Ethan and Katie Hightower (Thursdays during the fall semester, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Spring Discussions: Faith and Life

Weekly community study of Scripture and application to Christian life (Thursdays during the spring semester, 6:30-8:00 p.m.)

Mentor Relationship

Regular meetings with an older Christian from the Charlottesville community (arranged with mentor)

House Meetings

Times for sharing and praying together as a household (weekly)

Program Costs for 2020-21

Program Fee: $450 (payable in 9 monthly payments of $50). Covers Thursday dinners and other program activities and materials.

Housing (males): $525 per month rent (including utilities)

Housing (females): $545 per month rent (including utilities)

“This program left me encountering mercy and joy. In each Thursday night conversation, we debated complicated issues in our personal lives and in the world today. Each question gave us an answer that defined the relationship between man and God. Over and over, I came to the conclusion that the mercy of God is the only solution to working out the problems of man. Forming an intentional community requires a joyful disposition that can only be fueled by a relationship with Christ. I was blessed to see the hope, kindness, and smiles that my roommates carried. Their joy in the gospel rubbed off on me and encouraged me to continue to seek Christ. This program has made me see the importance of intentional, Christ-centered community. I am hoping to find this beyond college now that I understand how important it is to build each other up!” -Matt Baron, ENGR '16