Bayard Rustin LGBT and Social Justice Themed Living Community
The LGBT Center and Campus Housing at the University of Louisville host a themed housing option for students who are interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) issues and social justice. The community, named for gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, opened in Fall 2012.
Adjusting to college life can be challenging for many students, especially those at a large, urban university like U of L. The Rustin Community is the first of its kind at a Kentucky college or university, providing students the opportunity to be part of an intentional community of supportive peers who want to create safe, welcoming spaces to talk about sexual orientation, gender identity, expression, and the spectrum of identity.
All residence halls at U of L include a programming component for residents, but themed communities focus more specifically on an area of common interest or study. At U of L, there are communities for leadership, engineering, honors students, and other areas of interest and study. Research on student development suggests that membership in a living/learning community or themed housing supports retention, academic success, and an overall sense of connection to campus life.
The Rustin Community may be the right housing option if you:
• Want to live and study with others who are interested in LGBTQ+ issues and concerns
• Are interested in social justice and activism
• Would like support in exploring aspects of your own identity
• Are inspired by the life of Bayard Rustin to serve others
• Interested in building a better world where all people are valued and appreciated
Some highlights of the program are:
• Build connections to the LGBTQ+ community at UofL and in the greater Louisville area
• Monthly community nights with guest speakers, social justice education, and fun activities
• One-on-One coaching with LGBT Center staff: may include academic support, mentorship, student involvement, and leadership development opportunities
• Service and mutual aid opportunities to make a positive impact in our local community
The program's namesake, Bayard Rustin, was a key advisor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and organized the 1963 March on Washington. He was deeply committed to the principles of nonviolence as an activist, and taught them to King and other leaders. Because of his identity as a gay man, his contributions to the Civil Rights Movement were sometimes hidden or overlooked.
The Rustin community is open to any student who has a passion for social justice and LGBTQ+ advocacy. The benefits of living in the community include intentional programs and conversations about LGBTQ+ identity and social justice, community-led service projects and activities, and the chance to build a strong network of support.
How to Apply
Find out more about our community by visiting the University Housing Website. The "Bayard Rustin Themed Community Application" link can be found under the Housing Options tab. While filling out the application, you will be prompted to fill out an interest form for the living community where you would like to live.
The community is located in University Tower Apartments, which includes studio style, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.
Visit UTA online to learn more about the building.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where is the Rustin community located?
A: The new community is located in University Tower Apartments (UTA), which provides a range of suite-style living options. The LGBTQ+ community has its own floor and full access to floor lounges for meeting areas and program space.
Q: How do I apply to live in the community?
A: First you must complete an application for housing located in the U of L Housing website. Within the application there are options to express your interest in joining this themed community.
Q: How will I be contacted?
A: Once your application has been reviewed, you will be contacted via your email account provided on the application. It is your responsibility to check your email account for details regarding your status.
Q: What happens if I am selected to join the Rustin Community?
A: Once you are approved to join the Rustin Community, you will then be contacted by the Rustin community adviser to discuss next steps.
Q: I completed a housing intent form, but wasn't approved! What now?
A: Unfortunately, space is limited, and not every candidate is guaranteed to be approved. Preference is given to residents who submit their applications early. If you were not chosen during this application process, you may reapply for the following academic year. In the meantime, you may still participate in general room selection as long as you have completed your application.