All students have to make adjustments when moving to residence halls on campus. Will my roommate and I get along? Will they like the same music as I do? Will they share similar or different life experiences? These are typical questions that individuals ask themselves when moving on campus.
If you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, moving into a residence hall can bring all of these questions and more. Will my roommates respect my identity? What if they don’t? Many colleges and universities are trying to assist LGBTQ+ students in avoiding unhealthy roommate situations. University communities really, really want you to enjoy your college experience. If you’re concerned about your experience, one piece of advice is to seek out what resources your university can provide for you. For example, almost all universities have Resident Assistants (also called Resident Advisors, or RAs). RAs are typically upperclass students who live on your floor to make sure that policies and procedures are followed and students feel supported. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable in your living environment, or really anywhere on campus, tell your RA. They go through long trainings on how to provide resources to their residents, and better yet, they want to help!
Say you go to your RA, but you find you still need more support. You can go to the Hall Director or Resident Director of your residence hall. The Hall Director’s main job is to help you feel comfortable and successful in the residence hall and on campus. The Hall Director can help address intense roommate issues and, in the event that you are unsafe in your living situation, they can get you moved to a safer place.
These aren’t the only ways to get support, though. Before you arrive on campus, you can seek out resources that your university can provide for you. Listed below are a few popular universities in Colorado and links to their LGBTQ+ resource center websites which help support people in the LGBTQ+ community. These websites also have links to clubs and organizations that offer community and resources for students.
Some universities even have entire residential learning communities (RLCs) where you can live that are dedicated to topics related to gender and sexuality. For example, the University of Northern Colorado has a RLC called the Gender, Romantic, & Sexual identities Community or GRSI for short. Part of the mission of the GRSI is to “provide a space for students to live, learn, and explore their own identities as they navigate the broader university community.” For more information, please check out the link below.
Finally, see if you can get to know your roommate ahead of time. Many universities offer online communities for admitted students where you can message your classmates during your senior year and decide on a roommate on your own.
Remember that you are not alone in your experience and that there are so many accepting and loving people who want to help you feel safe, comfortable and successful in your college journey!
Many thanks to the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center at the University of Northern Colorado for contributing to this article.