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 student identifies 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 had students sign it. We said, ‘How would you feel about a floor that 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 a non-gendered 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 RA. The non-gendered floor continues to thrive with a wonderful community of about thirty students. Benjamin’s accomplishment shows not only how important inclusivity is to Franklin College but also that FC students hold the power to change the campus for the better.
“The thing about Franklin is the college may not be perfect, but they are willing to listen to the ways that they are not. 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 rather than one that claims perfection, consider Franklin College.