In an effort to provide housing choices that reflect diverse needs, students at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point have requested to have the option of inclusive housing available for those living on-campus.
According to Shawn Ward, the inclusivity director for Student Government Association, inclusive housing is more of a philosophy.
“Inclusive housing means that students have the power to choose a roommate that makes them feel completely comfortable,” Ward said. ”When people come to a university they should be able to freely live with whoever they want.”
The term gender-inclusive housing refers to residence hall occupants being able to choose the gender identity of their roommate.
Having the option of inclusive housing on the UWSP campus would give students a wide variety of options in roommate selections.
Currently, there is a committee made of Residential Living staff members and Residence Hall Association student members looking to make inclusive housing available at UWSP. The committee is lead by Mary Duckworth, program and assessment coordinator of Residential Living.
“Residential Living received a resolution from Residential Hall Association, with support from the Student Government Association, encouraging us to look into gender inclusive housing possibilities for on-campus students,” Duckworth said.The idea of inclusive housing has been circulating the UWSP campus for several years now. The living option has been implemented at numerous other universities and now Stevens Point will join the movement.
“Our goal is to have an option for gender inclusive housing beginning Fall 2014,” Duckworth said. “We recognize that there is a growing need for flexibility within housing options and we are working to meet that need as best we can.”
“With the times we are in now, this is more important than ever”Ward said. “It shows what we are all about here at Stevens Point. We want to make people feel at home here, and inclusive housing will give students freedom and choices.”
Majority of students on campus want inclusive housing, including freshman Angela Stahl.
“I can see the appeal for it because it would help make people feel more secure,” Stahl said.
“I think it would be good to have that. If people can have more options to choose from they can meet more people with the same interests andfind people with more similarities,” said Miranda Morrison, another freshman living in the dorms.
Both girls say they enjoy living with their current roommates, but other students may feel more comfortable selecting certain characteristics of people rather than being assigned randomly.
If anyone has any ideas or would like to voice their concerns or opinions about inclusive housing they can email Shawn Ward at firstname.lastname@example.org.