NACURH Winner
Month: August 2017

NACURH, INC.

Residential Community of the Month

School: University of Nevada, Las Vegas Region: IACURH
Nominee: Stonewall Suites Nominator: Andrew Ligneli

On-Campus Population: 1800 Chapter Size: 10

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

Stonewall Suites is the newest thematic community in UNLV’s Residence Halls. Stonewall Suites, or just Stonewall for short, is Housing and Residential Life’s first LGBTQIA+ and Gender Inclusive community. While considerable outreach was made to the residents of the community in order to ensure that they knew what they would be signing up for, a significant amount questions were left unanswered prior to move in day. Would the residents interact well with each other? Would there be and parents who were upset about their child moving onto Stonewall? We were even uncertain if the mixed gendered rooms and suites would lead to any conflicts. Before we knew it, move in day was here and we were going to find out one way or another if any of these fears and worries would become a reality.

It was almost immediately that we discovered that all of our concerns were unfounded. Both residents and parents responded with overwhelming positivity upon moving into Stonewall. Specifically, one parent expressed more peace of mind knowing that their child would be in a safe and comfortable environment on Stonewall, rather than any of our traditionally gendered suites on campus. In addition to this, there are a number of residents who identify as gender non- conforming, who feel they can live authentically, rather than trying to fit themselves into a binary gendered box.

The dust from move in day had not even settled yet when the residents began forming connections and relationships with their fellow floor mates. Because everyone on the floor had a common connection (identifying as LGBTQ+), residents wouldn’t have to worry about being marginalized as a result of their identity. This foundation allowed the community on the floor to thrive and flourish.

A great showcase of their community was the LGBTQ+ mixer that our Residence Hall Association hosts every year. Often times, events hosted outside of South Complex do not get consistent attendance from our residents. The residents of Stonewall broke this standard by attending the social in record high numbers for a single community. All but about 2 or 3 of the residents who had already moved into Stonewall (25 residents in total) were in attendance. The vast majority of them remained at the event for its entire duration. Residents of the community enjoyed the event so much that they have requested our RHA do it again at another point during the year, which they have never done before.

Since this, the residents of Stonewall have maintained one of the most active and positive floor communities I have ever seen in my twelve years working in Residential Life. There are nightly events in the Stonewall lounge, all brought forth by the residents themselves. They have built their community up with little to no intervention by Res Life staff in an extremely short amount of time. The community is already so strong that a wait list has formed for other residents who desire to move into the floor. The mother of Stonewall’s newest resident, who was just approved for a room change this morning, came in to thank me for allowing her child the opportunity to be a part of the Stonewall Community, stating: “Thank you so much, this is where she needed to be.”

When a community is so strong that when a student is moved to tears upon finding out they have been placed there, it is a community that is truly deserving of recognition. And with the first week of class barely coming to an end this residential community is just getting started.

Word Count: 592


Date of entry into database: 2017-09-10 20:57:17

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