By Cyruss Quaye
The Stonewall Community will be coming to Schuylkill Hall in the 2018-2019 academic year as part of an initiative to help LGBTQ students succeed during their freshman year.
With the new community, students who identify as LGBTQ are able to live amongst other students who also identify as LGBTQ.
At KU, there are already living and learning communities where students of the same major live together and help assist each other in their first year of college. Now, organizers say this effort is a way to help LGBTQ students seek comfort and acceptance in their first year.
Nykolai Blichar, a KU grad student and ‘It’s On Us’ regional advisor, came up with this concept and presented it to housing.
“The Stonewall Community will help LGBT+ students and their allies in a number of ways, college is often the place that LGBT+ identified individuals begin to explore their identities or have space that they can be themselves,” Blichar said. “They will have the chance to connect with many other LGBT+ identified students and their allies on campus by virtue of them signing up for the special interest community.”
When first year students sign up for housing, they are provided with information about the community. Students are allowed to express if they would like to be placed in the Stonewall Community.
Joshua Gonzales, a KU junior and Allies executive board member, said he thinks the Stonewall community will be a positive for the queer community because it’s another safe space.
“We have already had a surge of new queer students and kids have been coming out sooner each year,” Gonzales said. “I recently went to a feminist conference with a queer focus group and many people hadn’t heard of anything like what our school is doing and it made them interested in researching KU more.”