January 24, 2012

New LGBT-themed living center will open in University Towers

By Michelle Eigenheer–

Beginning in the fall of 2012, University Tower Apartments will host the Rustin Community, a residential community dedicated to open expression and conversation on the topics surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.

“The Rustin Community is the first of its kind at a Kentucky college or university, providing students the opportunity to be part of an intentional community of supportive others who want to create safe, welcoming spaces to talk about sexual orientation, gender expression and the spectrum of identity,” said Brian Buford, Director of LGBT Services at the University of Louisville.

A joint effort between the Office for LGBT Services and the Office for Housing and Residence Life at U of L, Rustin Community is a project that was designed to help LGBT students and their allies to be more successful and comfortable with their identity at U of L.

“Research on student development suggests that membership in a livinglearning community or themed housing supports retention, academic success and an overall sense of connection to campus life,” said Buford, who also feels that the implementation of such a residential community is a strong message of support from the university.

News of the living community has inspired mixed responses from students around campus. While many people support the step forward for the LGBT community, there are those who oppose it.

Senior philosophy major Elie Coleone is one of these students. “With all the support and activism on campus, I don’t really see [the living center] as being necessary,” said Coleone. “I think it’s a little unnecessary to have a special living center just for homosexuals.”

Conversely, there are students who feel that an open community such as Rustin will benefit campus life. “ I just feel like there’s a lot of people who don’t fully understand the whole LGBT movement and everything they’re about,” said Alli Grant, a freshman pre-med student.

The application process for Rustin Community has already begun. For more information on how to apply, contact the Department of Housing and Residence Life.

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Photo: Shelby Stafford/The Louisville Cardinal

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