Students react to new housing options

Maddie Nolan, Staff Writer

Many students may find college to be a difficult time with housing because same-gender rooms may not be comfortable for students.

Freshmen Carmyn Torres and Jackson Cieslack will be living together next year in the apartments. Torres, a pre-radiology and imaging major currently lives in the dorms, while Cieslack, a French and biology major, commutes from Newburgh everyday.

Most of the friends he’s made in school are girls, and his only close male friend is living in a fraternity house next year.

“If gender inclusive housing was not a thing I wouldn’t be able to live with all my friends since they are all girls,” Cieslack said. “I would say I’m more comfortable living with my friends or people I know at least rather than strangers which is the reason why I stayed off campus freshman year. I would also say I’m more comfortable with girls than boys just because of my personality.”

Starting in the fall of 2020, USI will offer gender inclusive housing to all students, meaning roommates and suitemates can all live together despite their gender identity.

Schools such as University of Evansville, Ball State University, and the University of Illinois already provide gender inclusive housing.

“It’s a milestone that many other colleges are reaching and USI needed to get on board to keep up with the changing times,” Cieslack said.

“I think a lot more people will live on campus because I would still be living at home if it had not become available this semester,” Cieslack said.

Living on campus is beneficial for Cieslack’s social life because he doesn’t have to worry about driving back to campus for late night plans with friends.

Cieslack said many commuter students are left out of their friend’s plans including study groups and movie nights, which negatively affects their mental health.

Students will not be randomly placed in gender inclusive housing unless they request it. They do not need parental consent or provide any extra information as to why they are choosing this option, according to the housing page.

This option allows students who may feel dependent on their parents by living at home to experience college life and living on their own.

“I’ve discovered that having independence and not having to constantly answer to someone is amazing,” Cieslack said.

The new housing option does raise the question of whether or not students can live with their significant other.

“Students are encouraged to make mature decisions about their living arrangements and roommate choices. While living with a romantic partner is not encouraged, we respect the privacy of our students,” according to the USI website.

Students are allowed to live with their significant other, but it is not encouraged.

Gender inclusive housing may attract more people to live on campus, as they can finally find a comfortable place to live. Amy Price, director of housing, said in a previous interview with The Shield, she thinks this will increase enrollment and retention at the university.