Dorms strive for inclusive living

Dajoun Bell, Contributing Writer

Marty Spewack, a first-year student at Bloomsburg University, never expected room with his best friend, Samantha Jane. Now, he can room with a female friend since his floor in Northumberland Hall is gender-inclusive.

 “I wasn’t sure, I knew a lot of schools were not about that, but Bloomsburg is different I guess,” Marty says of his gender-inclusive living space.
 Marty Spewack is a resident of the second floor of Northumberland Hall. Spewack explained that he had to call the Residence Life office to see if he could request a room with a student of a different gender. To his surprise, the University was happy to honor his request.

 Half of the second floor of Northumberland is gender-inclusive. Amy Cunningham, the Director of Residence Life for Residential Living & Director of Business and Conference Services, shed some light on this matter.

 “Gender-inclusive housing has been around about for five years (at Bloomsburg University). Gender-inclusive residential areas are important because we have male and female students but some are transgender…. As a result, we need to provide an inclusive housing community for our students.”
 Ms. Cunningham states that over these past five years there has been an increase of requests for rooming with students of other gender identities. “It can be students in relationships or friends of three males and one female,” says Ms. Cunningham.

 The gender-inclusive side of Northumberland also features an all-genders bathroom for anyone to use. This floor provides a community that is safe and welcoming for a wide range of gender identities.

Ms. Cunningham went on to say that Northumberland is the best space to accommodate this request. Ms. Cunningham also mentioned that the other co-ed dorms will eventually have a gender-inclusive floor like Northumberland in the near future.

The upper-campus apartments, including Jessica S. Kozloff, Montgomery Place and Mt. Olympus are co-ed as well. However, not many parents of first-year students are open to the idea.

For anyone who has not been informed about the chances to room with a student of a different gender identity, ResLife offers plenty of opportunities to make living at BloomU as inclusive as possible.