The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

The Official Student News Media of Southeastern Louisiana University

The Lion's Roar

Gender-inclusive housing pilot program to take flight in the fall

Building+B+shines+under+the+summer+sun+in+the+Greek+Village.+This+space+is+the+location+for+the+gender-inclusive+housing+pilot+program+beginning+in+fall+2023.+
Kennith Woods
Building B shines under the summer sun in the Greek Village. This space is the location for the gender-inclusive housing pilot program beginning in fall 2023.

This fall, the Lavender Lions, in conjunction with SLU Housing, will begin a pilot program for gender-inclusive housing. The program will house 15 students in Building B on North Campus. 

The LGBTQIA+ student organization had the idea of providing a safe, inclusive living space for students regardless of gender since its founding in 2021.

“Gender-inclusive housing is important because it provides an environment where people can live together regardless of gender identity. It offers an environment that is safe for everyone and it’s an important step in creating an inclusive and safe environment throughout campus,” said Matt Matthews, the vice president of SGA and member of the Lavender Lions.

Matthews brought up the idea during a May 16 auxiliary board meeting. 

“The meeting’s main purpose was for auxiliary board members to meet the new SGA leadership and discuss our individual agendas and how Auxiliary Services could help to achieve our goals. I spoke on how establishing gender-inclusive housing was something that many students, including myself, were wanting to see on campus,” Matthews said. 

He did not expect much progress on the idea; however, Connie Davis, the assistant vice president of Operations and Auxiliary Services, asked Matthews to outline his potential vision for gender-inclusive housing “if [he] were able to wave a magic wand and make it happen.” 

After some time had passed, the newly-minted Head of Housing, Amanda McDaniel, contacted Matthews to set up a meeting and further discuss the idea. 

The idea for the pilot program aligns with McDaniel’s goals to use housing to better suit students’ needs, according to Director of Marketing and Strategic Initiatives Robin Parker. 

“One of McDaniel’s initiatives is to explore ways the housing application process could be more inclusive to gender-diverse populations,” Parker said. 

On June 17, Matthews met with McDaniel and Lavender Lions President Rosemary Matthews to discuss details of the potential program. They toured North Campus, specifically the vacant Buildings J and B in the Greek Village. 

Initially, they decided on Building J but eventually switched to Building B thanks to its extra living space. For $2,680/semester, students will share a double unit containing two extra-long, twin-raised beds, two desks, two chairs, two armoires, a sink, a bathroom/shower and air conditioning. 

In addition to the residential amenities, Building B also has a communal living area and a shared kitchen. Picnic tables, a basketball court and a volleyball net are all located near the building.   

The Lavender Lions announced the program on Instagram on Friday, June 23 and provided a link for students to fill out an interest form. The form closed at 10 a.m. on Thursday, June 29. Students, regardless of their affiliation with the Lavender Lions, had the opportunity to sign up for one of the 15 open spots for next fall. 

Senior microbiology major Ethan Savario is eager to be among the first on campus to live in gender-inclusive housing. They knew they needed to participate in the trial when it was announced.

“I think this is a good addition to housing on campus. Gender-inclusive housing is an opportunity for transgender and gender non-conforming students to live comfortably and safely. I’m very excited to be a part of Southeastern’s history in the trial run and to live in a space where I feel safe and unafraid to be myself,” Savario said.

According to Parker, the program’s primary goal for next school year will be to gauge interest in gender-inclusive housing and “assess the potential for growth.” 

In the future, if the program continues, Savario said they’d like to see it expand physically to provide inclusive housing space for more students. Rosemary expressed a similar sentiment, stating the program will ideally head in that direction as years pass. 

“Students having the option to be placed together in a known safe space is a great first step, but it is only the first step we want to see. The closest reality for this project is the expansion into another building to double the space available for next year,” Rosemary said. 

Regarding The Lavender Lions’ long-term goal, Rosemary explained that the organization hopes to “see residents be able to request placement anywhere on campus regardless of their gender marker.”

For more information on the pilot program, contact Rosemary via email.

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About the Contributor
Kennith Woods
Kennith Woods, Editor-in-Chief
Kennith Woods is a sophomore communication major with a concentration in television and multimedia journalism and a creative writing minor. A resident of Prairieville, Kennith is The Lion’s Roar’s newly-minted news editor. His passion for progressive change within our communities is the driving factor behind his educational pursuits, as he wants to use journalism to facilitate vital information to the public and simultaneously serve as a mouthpiece for the people’s needs and concerns.
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