New Housing Program for LGBTQ Students
by Aaron Boerner, Reporter
September 20, 2013
A new program at NDSU aims to make that first year great for everyone.
It's a system which matches LGBTQ students with compatible roommates.
Glen Thoemke and Derek Schwartz met for the first time just last month...and as roommates they are getting along fine.
"I’d say we are pretty good friends, we get along very well, there’s been no issues whatsoever," said Glen Thoemke.
Thoemke identifies as Gay.
He is one of the first 12 people to sign up for a new program designed to make the first year more comfortable for incoming LGBTQ students.
During the application process a person can select from a list how they identify and then request to be matched with a roommate who identifies in a certain way
"It was a pretty big feeling of relief. I don’t know, not too bad, but it’s kind of nice to know I have something I could go to that would make it a little bit easier and not as stressful," said Thoemke.
Derek Schwartz, on the other hand, identifies as a straight ally.
Allies go through the same application process...their goal is to help others feel accepted.
"That could have been a heavy thought that could have been on his head and I was really glad he got paired up with me because when I knew he was worried about it I knew he could feel safe with me because I’m not that kind of guy, I just, I treat people the same," said Derek Schwartz.
The coordinator of the program, Kara Gravley-Stack, says she has seen similar programs at other schools.
NDSU decided to start the program after hearing some students were uncomfortable with their room assignments.
"It gives us an opportunity to help students find a match, find somebody who will be accepting of who they are and then they can release that from their concern as they start their school year," said Gravley-Stack.
Gravley-Stack says students even reapplied after being assigned a roommate so they could be straight allies.
A great start to a program which will help freshmen make that first year less stressful...and more memorable.
The program is available to students who are moving on-campus for the first time.