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Quinnipiac students move into assisted liv​ing facility

WALLINGFORD -- As schools are getting back into session all across the country, Quinnnipiac University is providing a unique living and learning environment for two of its students.

For the entire school year, Sarah Cullen, a junior Occupational Therapy Major, and Graduate Student, Kevin Currie, who is an MBA candidate, will be living with senior citizens in the Ashlar Village assisted living community in Wallingford.

"Being somebody who is chosen for this is just such a great honor," said Cullen, from Poughkeepsie, NY.

Last year, Quinnipiac became the first school in the country to roll out the Students in Residence program, a partnership with Masonicare, designed to have two students live with and learn from seniors.

"You can tell they just have amazing knowledge and I just want to just be a sponge this year and just learn and soak up as much as I can," said Currie.

The students are required to spend a minimum of eight hours per week engaging the Ashlar Village residents. But, the Quinnipiac students anticipate spending even more time with them.

"I am a musician," Cullen says proudly. "I play the saxophone and I dabble in the guitar. I thought that that was something that I could bring to the residents here."

Currie, of Wolcott, is a singer, who's eager to start a choir.

"Maybe do a little show for the residents or ultimately it would be neat to come to Quinnipiac even to maybe do a show, maybe to incorporate some of the other clubs on campus," he said.

"I think it's wonderful," said Alice Leighner, who has lived in Ashlar Village for seven years. "We enjoyed the ones last year and I have high hopes for Kevin and Sarah."

Thoughts that mirror most of the residents, but the residents are worried about the students.

"They want to make sure that they get in enough studying time, as well," said Kelly Papa, an RN, who is Masonicare's Corporate Director of Learning.

"To me, when they go out and look for a job, this is going to set them apart from most other students," said Erica DeFrancesco,  a Clinical Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Quinnipiac University.

She adds that Masonicare would like to expand the program to its properties in Mystic and Newtown.