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Gender-Open Housing

Gender-Open Housing allows students, regardless of sex, gender, or gender identity, to share a room or suite. Gender-Open Housing locations are as follows.

Undergraduate Residence Halls:

Graduate Residence Halls:

Gender-Open Housing refers to an arrangement whereby students, regardless of sex, gender, or gender identity, are permitted to share a room or suite in select areas of Northwestern’s residence halls. The primary reason for such a policy is to provide housing options that take into consideration varying identities and preferences, and to ensure a safe and comfortable environment for all students. Gender-Open Housing is not intended − and in fact is highly discouraged − for romantic couples. See below for additional questions and answers related to Gender-Open Housing

 

*depending on demand

ARE THERE EXTRA COSTS FOR GENDER-OPEN HOUSING?

No. The cost of housing is based on the residence hall and room type.

How can I indicate/change my preferred gender identification?

First-Year and Transfer Students

When completing your initial housing application, students can indicate their preferred gender identification by updating the, “Preferred Gender Identification” field. This field is located in step 2 of the application under Personal Information and is a free-form field in order to allow for the many possible gender identifications. Unless a student indicates a preference for Gender-Open Housing, students will be placed with another student that shares the same gender identity.

Returning Students

Students who have a housing application on file can indicate/change their preferred gender identification when updating their housing preferences before Housing Selection. Please update the field entitled, “Preferred Gender Identification”. This field is located in step 2 of the application under Personal Information and is a free-form field in order to allow for the many possible gender identifications. Unless a student selects a room within Gender-Open Housing, students will only be able to share multi-bed rooms with another student that shares the same gender identity.

Note: Students do not have access to the, “Preferred Gender Identification” field after they have signed their housing contract. If a student wishes to change their preferred gender identity after they have signed a contract, one can do so by emailing Residential Services at housing@northwestern.edu.

WHERE IS GENDER-OPEN HOUSING?
Undergraduate Hall Room Type & Student Eligible Bathroom Type
560 Lincoln St. Single Rooms in suites (Returning and Transfer Students only) one single use bathroom in each suite
Allison Hall 1st Floor Double Rooms (First-Year, Returning, and Transfer Students) one shared community bathroom on the floor
Elder Hall "L" Wing* Double Rooms (First-Year, Returning, and Transfer Students) two shared community
Foster-Walker Complex (PLEX) Single Rooms (Returning and Transfer Students only) multiple single-use bathrooms on each floor
Kemper Hall Double and Single Rooms in suites (Returning and Transfer Students only) two single-use bathrooms in each suite

 

Graduate Hall Room Type & Student Eligible Bathroom Type
Engelhart Hall Twin Studio (Graduate and Professional Students) one single use bathroom in each studio
McManus Center Twin Studio (Kellogg Students Only) one single use bathroom in each studio

 

 In the upcoming years, other Gender-Open Housing spaces will be made available based on the feedback of students and the renovation of our university facilities.

 

*depending on demand

WHAT IF I WANT TO LIVE IN A DIFFERENT HALL THAT IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR GENDER-OPEN HOUSING?
Students who originally select Gender-Open Housing on their housing application, but change their mind, can select a new space by contacting housing@northwestern.edu.
HOW DO ROOMMATES IN GENDER-OPEN HOUSING WORK?

Students interested in living in Gender-Open Housing are encouraged to self-select roommates who also wish to live in Gender-Open Housing. However, if you do not specify a roommate, Residential Services will pair you with a roommate also interested in Gender-Open Housing.

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY ROOMMATE CANCELS THEIR CONTRACT?

If your roommate cancels their contract, you will have the opportunity to choose a new roommate. If you do not know of a potential new roommate, Residential Services will assign a roommate who also selected Gender-Open Housing on their application. If you are no longer interested in Gender-Open Housing, please contact Residential Services at (847) 467-4663 or housing@northwestern.edu to be reassigned to a non-Gender-Open Housing space.

WHAT IF I BECOME UNCOMFORTABLE LIVING WITH MY ASSIGNED ROOMMATE(S)?

To help students establish an effective and successful partnership with their roommate(s), we encourage residents to fill out a Roommate Agreement with their Resident Assistant (RA). Our initial strategy is to have roommates discuss issues that create conflict or discomfort. Residential Life staff members are available to assist with mediating roommate conflicts.

WILL ANY STUDENT BE ASSIGNED TO GENDER OPEN HOUSING WITHOUT KNOWING?

No. Gender-Open Housing assignments will only be given to residents who specifically request those spaces.

HOW DO I SIGN UP FOR GENDER-OPEN HOUSING?

New first-year and transfer students interested in Gender-Open Housing should check the “Gender-Open housing" box when completing the housing preference on their housing application. A member of the Residential Services team will contact you to learn more about your housing needs and answer questions you have regarding Gender-Open Housing as a new student. 

Students currently living in University Housing who are interested in living in a Gender-Open Housing for the following academic year can self-select a space during the Housing Selection process.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO LIVE IN GENDER-OPEN HOUSING and IS THERE AN AGE REQUIREMENT TO LIVE IN GENDER OPEN HOUSING?

Gender-Open Housing is available to all Northwestern University Students over the age of 18 years old; in order to live in Gender-Open Housing at Northwestern University, you need to be at least 18 years of age by the time you move into the Residence Hall. Those under 18 years of age must have written permission from their parent/guardian before signing up to live in Gender-Open Housing.

Specific questions regarding Gender-Open Housing should be directed to our office.

Please contact us at (847) 467-HOME (847-467-4663) or housing@northwestern.edu

 

WHEN DO I SIGN UP FOR Gender-Open HOUSING?

Students will be asked to indicate interest in Gender-Open Housing on the Housing application to gauge interest before self-selection or first-year housing assignments begin.

HOW DO BATHROOMS/RESTROOMS WORK IN GENDER OPEN HOUSING?

All designated bathrooms/restrooms within the Gender-Open housing portfolio are gender-neutral and are configured in various ways (e.g. suite style bathroom, hallway bathroom/restroom with single stalls, etc.). If you're living in a Gender-Open Housing community that sets bathroom/restroom use, we encourage you to attend the initial floor meeting, where bathroom/restroom use will be discussed. If you are uncomfortable with the arrangement, you can contact their Resident Assistant or Resident Director. If you have questions about the bathrooms/restrooms in Gender-Open Housing, please contact our office at 847-467-HOME (847-467-4663), or by email at housing@northwestern.edu.

 

Bathroom/restroom breakdown can be found below:

  • Foster-Walker (singles) - One (1) single-stall/single-use bathroom/restroom (shower, sink, and toilet) for every three-to-five (3-5) single rooms. The door to each bathroom/restroom can be locked when in use.

  • 560 Lincoln (singles) - Contained within each suite of single rooms is single-use shower room, a single-use toilet room, and two sinks In the suite common foyer.

  • Kemper (singles) - Each suite has two (2) single-use bathrooms/restrooms (shower, sink, and toilet). The door to each bathroom/restroom can be locked when in use.

  • Kemper (doubles) Each suite has two (2) single-use bathrooms/restroom (shower, sink, and toilet).  The door to each bathroom/restroom can be locked when in use.

  • Allison (doubles) There Is one (1) Gender-Open floor bathroom/restroom shared by the 34 residents on the Gender-Open Housing Floor, complete with single-stall showers with a privacy shower curtain, single-stall toilets, and multiple sinks. This arrangement allows for multiple residents of the floor to use the facilities simultaneously with a degree of privacy.

  • Elder “L” Wing (doubles)* There are two (2) Gender-Open floor bathroom/restroom shared by the 20 residents and RA on each of the Gender-Open Housing Floors, complete with single-stall showers with a privacy shower curtain, single-stall toilets, and multiple sinks. This arrangement allows for multiple residents of the floor to use the facilities simultaneously with a degree of privacy.

 

*depending on demand

HOW WILL MY ROOMMATE BE ASSIGNED?

When you fill out your housing application you will be asked for your gender identity/expression. Unless you self-select to live in Gender-Open Housing, you will be placed with a student that identifies as the same gender as you.

IS GENDER-OPEN HOUSING AVAILABLE ONLY TO STUDENTS WHO IDENTIFY AS LGBTQ?

No. Although one of the goals of Gender-Open Housing is to address tensions often felt by queer and transgender students in finding a compatible roommate, Gender-Open Housing exists to allow any two friends to live together, regardless of gender identity.

WHO CAN I CALL IF I HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT GENDER OPEN HOUSING?

Feel free to call Residential Services, at 847-467-HOME (847-467-4663).

(PARENTS/FAMILIES) HOW WILL MY STUDENT'S ROOMMATE BE SELECTED?

Your student will indicate the preferred gender identity/expression of their roommate during the housing application process. If your student indicated they would like to live in Gender-Open Housing, and do not have a roommate preference, their roommate will be assigned to them.

(PARENTS/FAMILIES) WHY DO PEOPLE CHOOSE TO LIVE IN GENDER OPEN HOUSING?

People choose to live in Gender-Open Housing for many reasons. For some students, it is based on their gender identity/expression or sexual orientation; others simply want to live with close friends of different genders. The decision to live in Gender-Open Housing doesn't necessarily mean anything about someone's identity or personal life.

(PARENTS/FAMILIES) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GENDER OPEN HOUSING AND CO-ED?

Gender-Open Housing means that any student, regardless of gender identity, can live in the same room in a Gender-Open Housing residence hall. Co-ed means that students live in one room with someone of the same gender identity, but both male and female identified students live on the same floor/building

(PARENTS/FAMILIES) WHAT IF MY STUDENT DOESN'T WANT TO LIVE IN GENDER OPEN HOUSING OR WHAT IF I DON'T WANT MY STUDENT TO LIVE IN GENDER OPEN HOUSING?

There are many other housing options available on campus that are traditional co-ed. Additionally, there is one all women’s and one all men’s residence hall. Since roommate assignments are based on student preferences, your student will not be placed with a roommate of a different gender unless this is something they request through their housing application. While Northwestern University respects parents' involvement in their children’s lives, students are seen as adults with the freedom to choose their own housing. However, staff in the Residential Services office would be happy to meet with your student to discuss all available housing options.

(PARENTS/FAMILIES) WHAT IF MY STUDENT HAS A ROOMMATE THAT THEY'RE UNCOMFORTABLE LIVING WITH BECAUSE OF THEIR GENDER?

Since housing selection is based on individual preferences, every student should be assigned a roommate with whom they feel comfortable. If for some reason a student isn't comfortable with their roommate, they can speak to their Resident Assistant, or Resident Director, about different ways to address the situation. The first step may be conflict resolution/mediation, and if necessary, may include changing rooms. All situations will be handled on a case-by-case basis.