The facade of 220 Warren Square, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015. This shared residential unit accommodates two of Lehigh's special hosuing communities: Live Lehigh and PRIDE. (Yasemin Gulerman/B&W photo)

Pride Community and Live.Learn.Serve Community collaborate with shared living space

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Opposite of the Alumni Memorial building lies Warren Square, which houses many residential communities — one of which is the newly introduced PRIDE residential community.

Different than the previously offered gender-neutral community, which allowed people of different genders to live in the same apartments, PRIDE invites self-identified transgender, gender non-conforming, gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and ally students to live there.

The community is housed in Warren Square A and shares a space with the upperclassmen sector of the Live.Learn.Serve. community. With Live.Learn.Serve. occupying the top floor and PRIDE occupying the bottom floor, there is a makeup of 14 total students under the supervision of one Gryphon, Sonja Gorman, ’16.

“People that live in this house came in for a variety of reasons,” Gorman said. “There are some international students, some that are from different organizations and some people who are friends because of their major. So it’s an interesting mix of us.”

The residents of the PRIDE community declined to be interviewed for this story.

Although Live.Learn.Serve. and PRIDE were paired together by residential services partially for occupational reasons, some of it was intentional on the part of PRIDE.

“Pride expressed some interest in being in the same house as Live.Learn.Serve. They said, ‘We feel like they’ve been a very welcoming, accepting community and we would have a meaningful experience together,’” said Kate Colyer, the assistant director for the Community Service Office.

Both Colyer and Gorman said there are many beneficial opportunities to pair the two communities together that they would like to capitalize on.

Since Gorman’s duties as a Gryphon require her to host a multitude of events for both the entire Warren Square community and the two specific communities she oversees, she hopes to host collaborative events for her halls of students that make use of the space that they’re given.

Because Gorman is one Gryphon for two separate communities, she has been allowed to develop some overlap events between the two halls that will be both beneficial for the students participating and lighten the load of her doubled-up Gryphon duties.

“My residents are really interested in having cultural cooking lessons and movie nights and just hanging out. We also have an outside barbecue which is kind of fun,” Gorman said.

After speaking with two of her advisers on the matter, Colyer and and Chelsea Fullerton, the newly appointed director of the Pride Center, Gorman has begun to plan some events that both of her halls can participate in. One idea includes going to a church on the North Side that has an LGBT youth center and helping put on some of the events they hold for students struggling with their identity like a prom.

The goal, Colyer said, is to figure how to help students learn about South Bethlehem’s LGBT community while still doing community service in that area.

“We don’t have it all figured out right now but we’re figuring it out along the way,” Colyer said with a smile.

All five Warren Square residences, a small hub of houses located just opposite of the Alumni Memorial Building, house Live Lehigh residential communities that each have different focuses. They offer something different than the typical dorm lifestyle for students with features such as communal kitchens, living room spaces and shared bathrooms.

 

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