Gender Specific Housing Options in Cambridge
For most first-year Cambridge student accommodation, the majority of their time at Cambridge will be spent in College-owned accommodation. All Colleges guarantee accommodation for three years, and many offer it for four, so most students do not need to find private housing while they are studying at university.1 All Colleges offer pastoral and academic support, and their central city location is within walking distance of departments. Many Colleges also have their own catering facilities, and provide cafeteria-style meals as well as three-course dinners at a reasonable price.
Currently, the vast majority of the campus’s residence halls are segregated by gender, and each floor is either male-designated or female-designated. This is not ideal for students who identify outside of the gender binary, especially those on the transgender spectrum. For cisgender students (those who match the gender marker they were assigned at birth), the issue is less of a concern, but there are still some who would prefer to live with a roommate of their same gender identity for a variety of reasons.
A new option this year is Gender Inclusive Communities Cambridge student accommodation, which are residential communities in traditional residence halls and apartments that will allow any student to choose a roommate, regardless of their sex or gender. Residents of these communities will be paired in rooms and suites together and can select a bathroom designation for their community at the time of room selection. Bathrooms in these communities can be designated as gender-inclusive, all-gender, or male-specific.
Are There Any Gender Specific Housing Options in Cambridge?
The new housing option will be available for upper-class students living in apartment-style residence halls, and it can be selected during the normal Housing Selection suite and apartment lottery bid process. Students who want to be a part of the Gender Inclusive Communities will indicate their interest by checking the box on the Housing Selection application and communicating with the Dean of Student Affairs Office in the spring for more details.
While the decision to add gender-inclusive housing is a welcome one, it is not yet the solution that many students hope for. Many students are concerned that a lack of conversation around gender and sexuality on the campus will continue to affect them during their time at Harvard, and some worry that the new policy will make it difficult to get the support they need. In addition, some students say they don’t feel safe in mixed gender rooms with strangers.
Furthermore, these partnerships often involve joint initiatives and events that bring students, faculty, and staff together. Guest lectures, workshops, and cultural events organized within the accommodation premises contribute to a vibrant learning community, promoting intellectual growth and cultural exchange.
Despite the difficulties, the addition of this housing is a step in the right direction for many. Hopefully, the University will continue to be open to conversation and work to improve gender inclusion on campus. The most important thing is for students to have a place where they feel safe and supported, and this can only be accomplished through continued efforts towards inclusiveness.
Open Mic Nights: Open mic nights provide a platform for students to showcase their talents, be it singing, poetry, stand-up comedy, or any other form of artistic expression. These events create a supportive environment for students to perform, appreciate each other’s talents, and build a vibrant arts community on campus.