Earlier this month, University Housing Services announced the addition of the Rainbow Floor Themed Living-Learning Community (TLLC). Located on floor 3 of Watterson D House, the floor is designed for students interested in living on a floor supportive of the LGBTQ+ community, which can include students who identify with the community along with those who identify as allies. The new Rainbow Floor is sponsored by Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies; the Multicultural Center; and the School of Communication. The Rainbow Floor will thrive under the mentorship of several faculty advisors: Dr. Byron Craig, Dr. Cassie Herbert, and Dr. S. Gavin Weiser.

The Rainbow Floor will provide “a sense of belonging and support, a space to validate reservations, and a space where everyone counts,” said Herbert, an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy. Herbert shares that the addition of the Rainbow Floor is “forging new ground.”

There were many factors to consider before establishing the Rainbow Floor. Faculty and departmental support, available space, timing, and most importantly, student interest were driving factors in the foundation of the Rainbow Floor. “The students and faculty have to initiate a request for a new TLLC,” said Associate Director of Residential Life Bridget Reeland.

The current president of the registered student organization ISU PRIDE, Morgan Shurtz, did just that by finding interest and support from various departments and faculty advisors. As news spread, other departments reached out in support of the Rainbow Floor. Shurtz then worked through the University Housing TLLC application process during the late spring 2021 semester before the Rainbow Floor was declared official.

“The Rainbow Floor is blazing the trail for identity-based communities; I want students to see that it is possible,” said Shurtz.

The Rainbow Floor will also connect residents with resources on campus and within the Bloomington-Normal community. Some of these opportunities include the following:

  • Working closely with the ISU PRIDE Registered Student Organization and attending events centered on community, wellness, and identity affirmation.
  • Working closely with the Multicultural Center and attending events centered on identity and belonging, such as Safe-ish.
  • Social support and professional development opportunities from members of the Illinois State University and Bloomington-Normal community through events exclusive to residents of the Rainbow Floor.

Students eligible for room selection will be able to select the Rainbow Floor during TLLC priority room selection in early July. Students being manually assigned to their room can indicate the new TLLC as a placement preference if desired. For more information about the Rainbow Floor and other TLLCs, please visit the University Housing Services website.