20 Colleges Creating LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Communities
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- Students in LGBTQ+ living-learning communities often participate in house meals, social justice work, and queer studies.
- LGBTQ+ living-learning communities commonly accept students from all majors.
- Research shows that living-learning communities boost retention rates and GPAs.
- LGBTQ+ college students are four times more likely than non-LGBTQ+ students to choose a college based on its inclusive atmosphere.
For some LGBTQ+ students, finding acceptable housing options on campus can be difficult. But when they have the option to live with other LGBTQ+ students and allies, they can focus less on their safety and more on their studies.
Read on to learn about LGBTQ+ living-learning communities, and find some universities offering these housing options.
What Is an LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Community?
LGBTQ+ living-learning communities grew from the roots laid by college resource centers. LGBTQ+ resource centers became more common on college campuses starting in the 1990s. Schools have continued since then to expand safe campus spaces and resources for LGBTQ+ students.
Colleges offer many living-learning communities based on shared interests, backgrounds, and majors. Living-learning communities offer inclusive, gender-neutral dorms for LGBTQ+ students. They also provide LGBTQ+-centered courses, social justice opportunities, and access to exclusive social events.
Housing terms vary by school and LGBTQ+ living-learning community. For instance, some living-learning communities require that students complete gender and sexuality studies courses and participate in community service projects every semester.
Why Are LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Communities Important?
According to a 2022 UCLA Williams institute School of Law study, roughly 22% of LGBTQ+ students say they consider the school's inclusive climate when picking a college, compared to 5% of non-LGBTQ students.
LGBTQ+ living-learning communities matter because campus housing hasn't always been the most welcoming, with 25.2% of LGBTQ+ students reporting harassment while living on campus. About one-third of LGBTQ + students reported being bullied, harassed, or assaulted at college, compared to 18.9% of non-LGBTQ+ students.
20 Colleges With LGBTQ+ Living-Learning Communities
To create a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ+ students on campus, colleges implemented LGBTQ+ living-learning communities. These communities help students access resources and social justice opportunities. Keep reading to find out how these 20 colleges advanced LGBTQ+ equity through living-learning communities.
Dartmouth's Triangle House opened in 2014 to offer LGBTQ+ and allied students a safe space to live and learn. The townhouse-style units provide a connected living space with a communal kitchen and meeting rooms.
Each student living in this LGBTQ+ living-learning community must complete an extra course on LGBTQ+ topics, complete a one-year service project, or organize a program that promotes social change.
Elon's gender and sexuality living-learning community welcomes any student interested in gender and sexuality issues.
This LGBTQ+ living-learning community functions in connection with the women's and gender studies program and the Gender & LGBTQIA Center, which offers additional academic and personal resources. Residents can attend speaking events and group discussions.
George Mason University
George Mason's LGBTQ+ learning community offers a supportive residency at Piedmont Hall. Applicants must describe their self-care practice, why they want to join a community that focuses on LGBTQ+ experiences, and how they plan to contribute to their residence.
Kent State University
KSU's LGBTQ+ living-learning community accepts any undergraduate interested in social justice issues that affect the LGBTQ+ community. Students live at Korb Hall and have exclusive access to gender and sexuality courses, lectures, and research opportunities.
KSU claims that joining one of the 17 living-learning communities offers more academic support and boosts student retention rates.
Students in Purdue's Gender Inclusive Residential Community take two courses during the spring and fall semesters and can give presentations to the LGBTQ Student Alliance. Living here also provides access to bowling nights, faculty-hosted dinners, and movie nights.
Roger Williams University
RWU, which opened its first living-learning community more than 15 years ago, features an LGBTQ+ living-learning community with about 20-40 students. The LGBTQ+ living-learning community, formed in partnership with the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center, provides direct access to faculty and a network of LGBTQ+ students.
First-year students live in Maple Hall, but returning students can find housing in suites at the North Campus Residence Hall.
San Diego State University
SDSU's Pride House, which operates through the Pride Center, offers academic and leadership opportunities to LGBTQ+ students. The LGBTQ+ living-learning community lets first-year students have mentorships with upperclassmen. SDSU also offers gender-inclusive housing on campus.
The University of New Mexico
UNM's gender neutral and allies learning community for LGBTQ+ students aims to foster long-lasting connections and promote inclusivity. Students register for the academic year starting in October of the year prior. UNM does not publicize the location of the housing out of respect for students' privacy.
University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA's Gender, Sexuality, & Society unites students who want to explore gender identity, sexual orientation, and social justice in their personal lives and in the classroom.
First-year students can also join the year-long Cluster 72: Sex: From Biology to Gendered Society to earn 18 college credits. Outside of the classroom, residents get together for Queer Culture Night, the GSS Talent Show, Queer Prom, karaoke nights, and movie screenings.
University of California, San Diego
UC San Diego's LGBTQIA+ living-learning community — which opened about three years ago — aims to reclaim history, build community, and foster "brave spaces'' for open dialogue.
The living-learning community hosts quarterly events such as the Lavender Reception, Queer Dance, council meetings, and drag shows. Students primarily live in Tuolumne Apartments in Muir. Any undergraduate can apply.
University of Colorado Boulder
CU Boulder's Spectrum, founded in 2001, offers gender-inclusive housing (and shared bathrooms) in Hallett Hall. The living-learning community accepts first-year, returning, and transfer students. Peer mentors and resident advisors live on the same floors.
Residents can be from any major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Leeds School of Business, or the College of Media, Communication, and Information. They can also be from any major in the School of Education, College of Engineering and Applied Science, or the Program in Exploratory Studies.
University of Indianapolis
LGBTQ+ students and allies can live authentically at UIndy's Stonewall Suites. Residents on the same floor take two courses, picking from LGBTQ+ health, gender issues in law and society, social inequality, or lit and theory. They also can participate in LGBTQ+-themed activities and programs.
University of Louisville
University of Louisville's Bayard Rustin LGBT and social justice living-learning community opened in 2012 to form a supportive network of peers. The living-learning community occupies one floor in the University Tower Apartments with lounges and meeting rooms.
Residents are encouraged to discuss LGBTQ+ issues and pursue community-led social justice and activism projects. All students can apply, but space is limited. Early applicants receive preference.
University of Miami
UM's gender and sexuality living-learning community began in 2021 to create a positive change in the LGBTQ+ community. Residents live at Mahoney Residential College for one academic year and participate in mandatory community service projects every semester. They also complete two gender and sexuality studies courses.
Residents also get invited to events organized by the LGBTQ Student Center, conferences, and symposiums. Any first-year, transfer, and undergraduate student can apply.
University of South Florida
USF's Stonewall Suites living-learning community offers an inclusive community for LGBTQ+ students and allies. Students live at Beacon Hall in suite-style rooms. They participate in leadership projects and get access to scholarship opportunities and peer support. The residency features a study lounge with a clothing swap and views of USF's The Village. Any student can apply.
University of Wyoming
UW offers LGBTQ+ students and allies spots in spectrum/gender-inclusive housing at Downey Hall. Interested residents must submit placement requests via email. UW also offers all-gender housing on the fifth, ninth, 10th, 11th, and 12th floors at White Hall.
West Virginia University
WVU's True Colors living-learning community welcomes LGBTQ+ and allies to the dorm at Stalnaker Hall. The living-learning community features double occupancy rooms and shared bathrooms.
Students must participate in community events. Many residents also join Hall Council and the larger dorm life community events.
Western Kentucky University
WKU's Stonewall Suites unites LGBTQ+ students who want to make positive social change. Any students can apply to live at the Stonewall Suites, which opened in 2016. Interested applicants must apply and complete an interview. Stonewall Suites brings residents together socially through Grocery Bingo, the annual drag show, Pride Camp, and movie night.
Western Washington University
WWU's Pride Housing offers a supportive living-learning community for LGBTQ+ students at Alma Clark Glass Hall. Residents participate in community events and discussions. They also have access to campus resources. As a group, residents often attend campus events. Students can also choose WWU's gender-neutral housing.
Angelique Geehan works to support and repair the connections people have with themselves and their families, communities, and cultural practices. A queer, Asian, gender binary-nonconforming parent, Geehan founded Interchange, a consulting group that offers anti-oppression support. She organizes as part of several groups, including the National Perinatal Association's Health Equity Workgroup, the Health and Healing Justice Committee of the National Queer and Trans Asian and Pacific Islander Alliance, QTPOC+ Family Circle, and Batalá Houston.
Angelique Geehan is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.
DISCLAIMER: If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please seek legal counsel. If you are experiencing a life-threatening situation, seek help or dial 911.