West Virginia University has launched a new residential community that seeks to establish safe and comfortable housing accommodations for LGBTQ and ally students.
The community, named True Colors, also supports students who identify as transgender or gender non-conforming in choosing a roommate of any gender. The gender-neutral community is not intended for romantic couples.
“WVU continues to work to provide an inclusive community by promoting equity and diversity across campus, and that includes offering university housing that supports residents of all gender identities and gender expressions,” said Chris MacDonald, executive director of Housing and Residence Life.
“Living on campus is a watershed moment for most college students,” MacDonald said. “There are few experiences that rival the impact of the residential community in the transition of a student to college life. While it is not always easy, and the challenge of living with others is a great learning experience, it is important that we collaborate with our dedicated partners to help alleviate some obstacles that might hinder a student’s engagement and feeling of belonging in their home on campus.”
Dr. Trish Cendana, director of WVU Residence Life, said, “We have always provided diverse housing options. Last year, we offered a gender-inclusive community and the creation of the True Colors community will expand on these efforts. We wanted to create a nurturing community atmosphere that values diversity and promotes the dignity of all individuals.”
Students who opt into gender-neutral housing will reside in Stalnaker Hall. Housing and Residence Life staff will collaborate with the LGBTQ Center to offer programs and activities to help residents explore and learn about gender identity and expression in a supportive environment.
“The LGBTQ Center is pleased to partner with Residence Life and to provide this exciting living option for students,” said T. Anne Hawkins, interim director of the WVU LGBTQ center and clinical director of the Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services. “We believe that the students whom are selected to live in True Colors will be supported and enriched by the experience.”
Hawkins also chairs the Commission for LGBTQ Equity at WVU.
Contact: Chris MacDonald; Housing and Residence Life
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