Open House residents pose at the pumpkin patch

Open House Learning Community

Open House is by and far the most accepting and friendly communities. Everyone is welcoming and it will honestly feel like you’ve gained a second family.

DARREN SCHOENIKE, Open House Resident


Open House residents take a wagon ride at an outside orchard

Gender and Women’s Studies 100 | 1 Credit

Gender and Women’s Studies (GWS) 100 is a one-credit course led by Open House Faculty Director and Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies Dr. Sami Schalk. The course explores past and present topics in LGBTQIA+ communities. Readings and discussions in the seminar will be extended and enhanced by impromptu conversations and experiences between residents and the Faculty Director, with opportunities to bring in guest speakers. This fun class is exclusively available to Open House residents and is available every Fall and Spring semester.

Events & Resources


Each semester, Open House hosts a variety of events that support and expand upon the ideals of the learning community. The events vary from movies to speakers to cookouts. No matter what the occasion, all events aim to build a stronger community and give anyone and everyone the chance to express themselves. Other notable events from Open House’s include attending local and national conferences, bringing prominent speakers to campus, and working with our campus partners to have a lot of fun!

Below are some of the events and activities from recent years that Open House residents have participated in.

  • Speakers
  • Field trips
  • Movie nights
  • Workshops
  • Conference trips
  • Karaoke nights
  • Crafts
  • Cookouts
  • Study jams
  • Game nights

Gender Inclusive Community in Merit

Transgender icon

This new community will be available in Academic Year 2021-2022 on the 2nd floor of Merit Residence Hall in the Southeast Neighborhood of campus. Residents may choose:

  • Single room with an all-gender bathroom shared by a cluster of six rooms
  • Double room with a bathroom
    • Roommate preferences can be of any gender (regardless of a student’s assigned sex, gender, gender expression, or sexual orientation)
    • If you do not indicate a roommate preference, a roommate of any gender may be assigned

New students who are interested will be able to list this community as a preference in My UW Housing under “Learning Community & Affinity Program Preferences” as Gender Inclusive Housing.


Dr. Sami Schalk

Credentials: She/her(s)

Position title: Faculty Director of Open House, Associate Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies

Scott Seyforth

Position title: Assistant Director of Residence Life