Why Emory University’s Gender Neutral Housing Is Not Only a Bad Idea, But is Sad for the Youth of America.

Life Before Coed Rooms. (Photo: LIFE Magazine)

It was released last week that Emory University, one of South’s most prestigious institutions, is doing a pilot program this year to allow for “gender-neutral housing.” This isn’t coed dorms … but instead coed ROOMS. Following Stanford and Cornell, Emory is thinking progressive with 2 bedroom, 2 bath coed units. Despite being the relatively “young” age of 30, I am going with the old man perspective on this one.

It’s not only a bad idea, but it’s honestly … a bit sad.

The current shift in all dorms (not just coed) is to go the way of the apartment-style housing. (Hey, it’s what the youth of America wants and it’s tough to blame them.) But when I went to college, there was basically only one choice: rooming with one guy in a tiny shoebox of a room that had showers at the end of each hall and visitation limited to 10am-11pm. Tough, I know. But looking back, after years of sharing spacious apartments and living alone, I am grateful to have a collegiate experience that was so simple and meaningful.

Co-existing in a space roughly the size of walk-in closet, on a hall lined with guys my age, taught me about life. It taught me to be considerate to my fellow man. It taught me to tolerate other people’s annoyances. It taught me how to share things. It taught me how to talk openly and get along with folks you might not have ever considered would become your friend. And it taught me how to get to truly get to know someone. It was a rite of passage.  

In this instant-access world of living in our own bubble, screening telephone calls and only texting when we feel like it, I’m so thankful I spent all 4 years in a cramped dorm at Berry College. Sure, we had girls over, broke rules and drank on the dry campus. But because these guilty pleasures weren’t readily available at all times, they weren’t indulged as often … and thus we were left create our own experiences, spend time with our neighbors and explore academics. You have all your life to live with the opposite sex, to get into mischief, do what you want when you want it. But for four years, living in an old-school style dorm, created not only lasting memories, but personal and intimate bonds that will never be broken.

College is always said to be “the best time of your life.” A magical window where you have little responsibility but a lot of freedom … where you get to live in a community made up of mostly your peers. But to me, it’s becoming increasingly similar to how the rest of your life will be. And that, is sad.



Filed under Philosophy

3 responses to “Why Emory University’s Gender Neutral Housing Is Not Only a Bad Idea, But is Sad for the Youth of America.

  1. e/b

    Yes! I treasure the ridiculous years I spent “learning to share” (having my camera stolen) and “tolerating annoyances” (yelling at roommates).

    That sounds like snark, but I’m serious. I did some serious growing up at 18 in Creswell Hall. And I really hate this apartment dorm thing… what makes young people think they are entitled to an entire apartment? Generations of college grads have holed up in their shoeboxes and found a happy life for themselves by enjoying the company of others.

    I still have very good friends I met in my Freshman dorm, and can’t imagine my post-college life without them.

    Why is this generation so willing to self-ostracize? (Texts, Facebook, apartment dorms, etc.) It’s all short attention instant gratification and centered on the individual.

    I’m with you J, it’s sad.

    • “Generations of college grads have holed up in their shoeboxes and found a happy life for themselves by enjoying the company of others.”

      So well put, and exactly my thought. Sometimes when you make things more luxurious, they actually begin to lose the specialness they had to begin with.

  2. Carrie

    Yes, I agree it is sad. I went to a single sex school my freshman year and loved it! Sure, we snuck guys in after hours but that was part of the bonding experience with my fellow hall mates. College kids are not adults and aren’t living in the “real world.” they have plenty of time for that later.

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