Designing Beyond the Binary to Foster Belonging


ACUHO-I Conference & Expo

Portland, OR


Elizabeth MacPherson, K Kaczmarek

Date & Time:

06.27.2023 | 3:00 pm–3:50 pm

Today’s college students are coming to campus with more diverse gender identities, which has important operational and design implications. Although more people are empowered to “come out”, 60% of students who identify as trans, nonbinary, gender nonconforming or queer have reported fearing for their physical safety. It is critical that the health and well-being of this growing community is centered in our built environments. This program will look at using design as a tool to help support the physical safety, emotional comfort and belonging of all LGBTQIA+ students.

Join Mithun partner Elizabeth MacPherson and associate K Kaczmarek for “Designing Beyond the Binary to Foster Belonging” to gain language and voice to advocate for truly inclusive places and learn how to develop programs and services that can foster belonging of LGBTQIA+ students. The presentation will share case studies in both new construction and renovation that translate these design ideas into housing, restrooms and gathering spaces. By grounding design solutions in research through surveys, interviews and historical data, the session provides actionable perspective into how to design beyond the binary.

Additional presenters include UC Irvine senior director of graduate and family housing residential life Jennifer Nelson Martinez and UC Irvine senior director of facilities operation and capital projects Melissa Falkenstien.

Date Posted: 06.27.2023