By Collin Atwood
Students at Springfield College are gearing up for housing selections for the 2021-2022 school year. In years past, students would have to pick other students of the same gender to live with. This academic year was the first year that gender inclusive housing was an option for students and will remain an option in the coming years.
Starting last year, gender inclusive housing was an option for students living in the townhouses, senior suites and living center. Allison Gagne, the Assistant Director of Housing and Residence Life said, “The biggest reason is definitely to support our LGBTQ community members and make sure they feel safe and have housing options that are affirmative of their identity.”
Springfield College felt that students should be allowed to make their own decisions in regards to who they live with.
In the 2021 fall semester the college will be expanding its number of gender inclusive buildings. “We’re extending that to traditional mid-year halls for this year,” Gagne said. International, Alumni, Lakeside and Abbey Hall will all be gender inclusive in the upcoming fall semester.
This is a step in the right direction for the College, which plans to have gender inclusive housing in every hall. This plan has been in motion for two years and it all started with graduate housing.
“Two years ago, we started with graduate housing and then we started with the suites last year. This coming year will be traditional mid-year and then the following academic year we’ll roll this into first year halls and then the whole campus will have gender inclusive housing options,” Gagne said.
The goal is for everyone in the LGBTQ community to feel completely safe on the Springfield College campus.
In the traditional mid-year halls, about half of the wings will be gender inclusive. The college recognizes that not all students are comfortable sharing a wing with the opposite gender, so they will still have the option to be in a single gender wing.
If a student chooses to live in the gender inclusive wing, but does not feel comfortable sharing a bathroom with a student of the opposite gender, that student is more than welcome to use the bathroom in the single gender wing.
Having gender inclusive housing will be a learning experience for the campus community. Knowledge on the topic is vital to making this work.
“It’s certainly going to mean a lot of education for our community about living in a gender inclusive environment and that it remains safe for everyone, what the behavioral expectations are and things like that,” Gagne said.
For any questions regarding housing options visit the Housing and Residence Life Office or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Springfield College