Between his philosophy and English double major, Benjamin is also a resident assistant in the Dietz Center. The position allowed the Franklin-native to interact with numerous students with different identities and backgrounds. As a transgender student, it is important to Benjamin to ensure that all students, regardless of their gender identity, are treated equally.
“If students identify as non-binary, and they want to live on campus, they want to have the experience like everyone else, where do they live? All our floors are gendered.” – Fears
Benjamin did not want to simply identify the problem and ignore it. He and a group of passionate individuals decided to take action to help those who would prefer to live on a floor that is not defined by gender.
“We created a petition. We had students sign it. We said, ‘How would you feel about a floor where it wouldn’t matter who lived on the floor with you?’ And we actually had a very positive student reaction.” – Fears
The campus’s residence life team agreed with the students and began to work on gender-inclusive floor. The new dorm option is now available to all students regardless of their gender identity with none other than Benjamin himself serving as the floor’s first resident assistant. The gender-inclusive floor continues to thrive with a wonderful community of about 30 students. Benjamin’s accomplishment shows not only how important inclusivity is to Franklin College but also that Franklin College students hold the power to change the campus for the better.
“Franklin College is willing to listen to the ways that they are not perfect. They’re willing to fix that.” – Fears
If you are like Benjamin and value an institution that listens to its students and shows a willingness to change, consider Franklin College.