By: Charlotte Smith
This year, the University of Findlay is offering gender inclusive housing for the first time.
The University has added two new special interest houses on campus that are gender inclusive. The term gender inclusive (neutral) means that students do not identify with what society classifies as male or female or may identify as transgender.
The UF housing department held meetings to discuss the needs of these students and decided to expand the special interest housing on campus. They also focused on ways to encourage faculty and staff to connect with students who are going to be, or already are, living in those special interest houses.
Shari Hellman, part-time housing assistant, explains why the new additions were made this year.
“We felt that there was a need, based on talking to different students,” said Hellman. “You know we try to meet the needs of the students as much as we can and so we felt that there was a need for that based on the student population.”
The University is open to more options, including the possibility of gender inclusive dorms, if the Housing Department sees a need from the students.
Currently, UF has several options for campus living including traditional style dorms, apartment style housing, and Greek housing. The University also offers special interest housing and theme housing.
Theme housing is based on majors. The themes include a Pharmacy house, Pre-Vet house, Business house, as well as several others around campus. Special interest housing allows students to live with fellow students with common backgrounds.
The Campus Ministries on campus also have a house, one for men and one for women. There is also intercultural housing in which students can live in a house with international students.
Hellman explains that the University already owned the now-themed homes, so they decided to group them together as special interest housing.
“We didn’t have to add any houses to do this, we just, you know there was an outgrowth sort of, you have the Pharmacy house and the Animal Science house, and the Business house so it was sort of just growing that program,” said Hellman.
This year will act as the test run for the houses. Students are able to request the living arrangements by talking to one of the staff members in the Office of Student Affairs. If students are interested in living in gender inclusive housing for next year, they are able to go through the housing portal and choose the gender inclusive house option.
As this is the first year that UF will be offering gender inclusive housing, student input is important in keeping the housing around campus.
“I have heard such positive feedback,” said Hellman. “All the students that are in there are so happy to be there and we have only heard good things so far.”
The University will continue to grow as the students’ needs change and develop over the next couple of years.
For more information about campus housing visit, https://www.findlay.edu/offices/student-affairs/housing-residence-life/