By Tina Shaygan, March 15 2018 —
The University of Calgary will soon see the construction of a gender-inclusive change room, thanks to a Quality Money application brought forward by the Students’ Union Q Centre and Sagar Grewal, current SU kinesiology representative and president-elect.
The change rooms, which will be located in the kinesiology building, will include stalls, bathrooms and showers students can use regardless of identity. According to SU Q Centre co-coordinator Melanie Trudeau, gender-inclusive change rooms on campus have been an issue for a number of years.
“The Q Centre is not the first one to bring this up by any means,” Trudeau said. “There have been various student activist groups who have brought this up to the Faculty of Kinesiology before.”
The project, which costs approximately $430,000, is on track to be completed by the end of summer 2018. Grewal said that while not a perfect solution, he hopes gender-inclusive change rooms can spark change in other areas of campus.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Grewal said. “Our hope is that the creation of these spaces will lead to making sure gender-inclusive bathrooms and change rooms will be incorporated in any new building designs. We hope to use this as an advocacy push to ensure that student rights are recognized in any future developments.”
Trudeau added that she thinks accessibility is an important issue on campus.
“All students are paying for these services but obviously not all students are accessing them,” Trudeau said.
Grewal also emphasized that while all students may be paying fees for services like Active Living, not everyone is able to use them.
“There are students who are paying fees just like everyone else for spaces such as the Fitness Centre but don’t have spaces to change to actually use them,” Grewal said. “There is definitely a big barrier for them to access these facilities, which they have a right to access.”
Grewal added he hopes to see barrier-free facilities, in general, be addressed in any future renovations on campus.
“We are going to be seeing more renovations in the Faculty of Kinesiology, so hopefully [those renovations] make it more accessible for [people with] disabilities because that’s always a big concern,” Grewal said.
Both Trudeau and Grewal said the feedback they’ve received so far has been positive.
“A lot of students think that it’s a step forward and is making our campus inclusive for all people,” Grewal said. “We hope to make our facilities inclusive to anybody who visits our campus.”
“There is always a potential for a negative reaction when you do any kind of social change, but on our end, people are quite happy,” Trudeau added.