CHENEY, Wash. — Eastern Washington University has opened its first gender-inclusive housing floor in hopes of building a more welcoming community for students.
Friday is move-in day at EWU, which means 1,700 freshmen will move into their new homes. Some of these students will be among the first 22 people to live on the 10th floor of Dressler Hall, the new gender-inclusive floor. This means room assignments are not based on gender and anyone can share a space together. All students living on this floor will also share a gender-neutral bathroom.
Nick Franco is the manager of the Pride Center at EWU. He said the decision to add the floor came after students expressed interest in a housing survey.
"This is something that more and more universities are offering because they know that this is what students are wanting and it's not about segregation, it's more about when you are in your living space,” Franco said. “You don't want to worry about whether your roommate is going to be accepting of you or not. You want to live with someone or you want to live in a community where you know that that part of your identity is affirmed.”
“They are coming from communities that often times are not accepting or even homes that are not accepting, and so to live in a community where that part of your identity is affirmed is one step to making students…feel like they belong on campus,” he continued.
Right now, the floor is completely full and several students are also on a waiting list.
If things go well, the university could add more gender-inclusive floors across campus if students express interest.
Evergreen State College, Pacific Lutheran University, the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University and Whitman College also have gender-inclusive housing.