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Students propose gender inclusive housing

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Todd Greer hopes to share an apartment with his friends of the opposite gender next year in Knights. — Rochelle Beardsley/TRUMPET

Two Wartburg students are looking to make a change in residential life on campus.

Abby Singleton and Todd Greer, both student senators, have been working on implementing a policy that allows for a gender inclusive living environment.

They are hoping to leave an influential mark on students and the college.

The pair have taken the first steps necessary to accomplish their goal by making contact with Cassie Hales, director of Residential Life, and Dean of Students Dr. Dan Kittle.

Hales said the policy will look to help students in transition as well as any students who are simply looking to room with a friend of the opposite gender.

“This option allows students in transition to have a space that is safe,” Hales said.

“They know everyone there understands and is accepting, but it would also be a great option for individuals who just have trouble living with members of the same sex or gender.”

Singleton said, if implemented, the policy would only be implemented in Knight’s Village as an opportunity for seniors living in the apartments.

“It is kind of a test to make sure the policy is set right and things are written correctly to ensure we don’t need to make any more revisions,” Singleton said.

“We just want to make sure everything will go the way it should be going.”

Since writing the proposal and presenting it to Hales, Singleton and Greer have sent the proposal on to the college cabinet.

Hales said while she has been excited about the topic for a while, she waited for students like Singleton and Greer who were willing to put together a proposal and really fight for it.

“This is something we leave in the students’ hands. They have more of a drive and passion for things,” Hales said.

Greer said he thinks this policy will not only help the students, but it will help the college make a prominent statement.

“Retention is a big thing. If I hadn’t become an RA, I would have had a difficult time finding a roommate to where it might have affected how felt towards the college. If we can get people to environments that they want to live in they could probably keep students on campus longer,” Greer said.

Greer said the college would be showing that they care about people who are different and who have different preferences.

Singleton and Greer have also started to talk to students around campus to help raise awareness and gain backing of their proposal.

“Even the people who wouldn’t utilize it said they wouldn’t mind if somebody else did it because it wouldn’t affect them,” said Greer, “they wouldn’t be forced into it and they like that it is an option.”

“I have heard nothing but positive things. A lot of people are just excited about the opportunity,” Singleton said.

The pair is hoping that the cabinet decision will be made in time for the March housing lottery.

Hales said she hopes the opportunity will eventually spread to other residential facilities.

“We would like to see this policy catch on and grow into other dorms such as Grossman and Manors. We don’t want it to stop at Knight’s Village. We want it to keep on progressing,” Greer said.

“It would just allow students to be more comfortable with who they are and who they are around, which just makes the entire college experience that much better,” Singleton said.

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