EAGLE FILE PHOTO
Students will be able to live with members of the opposite sex in Centennial and Roper Halls next fall.
Housing and Dining’s decision to add gender neutral housing follows a joint effort between Student Government and the Residence Hall Association to lobby Housing and Dining for the change.
“This has been an issue on campus for almost a decade now, and this is the first and largest step in a long time,” Student Government President Tim McBride said in an email.
Gender neutral housing is intended to allow gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and students who do not consider themselves traditionally male or female to live in an environment where they feel most comfortable, according to RHA Resolution 11-12-009 passed Dec. 1.
While Open Gender Housing has existed in Nebraska Hall, the Berkshire Apartments and suites in McDowell Hall, many students have not taken advantage of these opportunities, said Chris Moody, assistant vice president for Housing and Dining.
AU adds drug, alcohol-free housing
The Housing Options Task Force, created during the fall semester and consisting of staff and students, also provided Housing and Dining the recommendations for AU’s new living learning communities.
The Substance Free Living Learning Community in Clark Hall will allow students to live in a guaranteed substance-free environment.
Students living in the Substance Free Living Learning Community will agree to not be under the influence of alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs while present inside Clark Hall. Students will also refrain from bringing these substances into Clark Hall, Moody said.
“In formal and informal assessments, students share stories about how choices made by hallmates related to alcohol and other drugs have played a role in the quality of their sleep and study environments, even though these substances are not permitted in university housing,” he said in an email.
Social justice-themed housing added to Roper
The Social Justice Living Learning Community in Roper Hall and will be gender neutral and will expose students interested in social justice issues to several opportunities to immerse themselves in the field, Moody said.
“Students will have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of experiences on the topics of civil rights, women’s rights, GLBT rights and other social justice movements,” Moody wrote in the email.
Students in the program will listen to guest speakers, travel to social justice-related sites around D.C. and meet alumni who are working in the field, Moody said.
“National and American University data have shown for several years that students participating in a living learning communities express higher levels of satisfaction with their residence hall and university experience,” he said. “Additionally, retention rates at the University have shown a trend of being higher for students who participate in a living learning community versus those who do not.”
The Online Housing Application will be due Feb. 3 at 11:59 p.m. The Living Learning applications will be due Feb. 3 at 5 p.m.
Students will receive their lottery numbers in an email Feb. 10, according to the Room Selection Guide, which Housing and Dining sent to students Jan. 9.