UC Berkeley administration has approved Recreational Sports’ proposal to renovate existing locker rooms at the Recreational Sports Facility (RSF) – the primary fitness and recreation center on the UC Berkeley campus – to include a new 4,500 square foot gender-inclusive locker room. Construction on this forward-thinking project, the first of its size and scope in the UC system, is expected to begin in Spring 2018.
Not only will the locker room offer private changing rooms, showers, lockers and bathrooms stalls, it will also serve as a non-gendered access point to the Spieker Pool lap swim facility.
Participation in recreation and wellness activities can have a profound impact on a students collegiate experience – helping to reduce stress, increase self-confidence and build a strong sense of community. Through this initiative Recreational Sports will take a crucial step forward in reducing the barriers to wellness for often marginalized student and campus communities including trans and non-gender binary students, students with disabilities or anyone seeking additional privacy.
Campus Values: Inclusivity & Wellness For All
In April 2015, students decisively voted to increase their student registration fees to provide further opportunities and funding to health and wellness initiatives across campus.
In building upon the values outlined in the referendum, it was imperative that students had a voice in all levels of the proposal and decision making for this project. Outgoing president of the Associated Students of University California (ASUC), Will Morrow became an immediate ally, helping to draft and present the proposal to campus leadership.
“This locker room project not only symbolically affirms our campus values of inclusivity and access for all, but it provides a tangible service for students who are currently being underserved. At the core of this project is a commitment to student holistic wellness—physical, mental, and emotional. In providing a safe and inclusive changing space, the RSF is adapting to better serve the wellness of all members of our campus community,” Will said.
“The RSF is a service for all students, so it was imperative to me that students leaders work collaboratively with Rec Sports administration in making this accessible locker room project a reality. The fact that students voted to use their own student fees to go toward this project exemplifies this spirit of cooperation, and commitment to inclusivity for everyone.”
Working jointly with the Wellness Initiative Fee Advisory Committee (WIFAC), tasked with ensuring that the fee revenue generated by the Wellness Fee is used inline with the original intentions of the referendum, as well as key campus partners including the Gender Equity Resource Center (GenEq), Recreational Sports was able to gain the campus approval and support to turn this concept into a reality.
“This project would not have been possible without strong student support and collaboration. The resources offered by WIFAC and support from ASUC shows shared values in expanding wellness opportunities for marginalized campus communities,” said Senior Associate Director Trineice Durst who spearheaded the department’s efforts.
The project will serve as a continuation of the campus’ commitment to inclusion and diversity, while supporting the UC Office of the President’s recent guidelines for “providing a safe environment, consistent with UC principles of community and efforts around civility and respect.”
Eliminating Barriers to Wellness
Inclusivity is rooted in the core values of Recreational Sports, having worked to install similarly non-gendered changing rooms and showers as part of the Stadium Fitness Center, constructed in 2014, as well as launching the Inclusive Recreation program designed to provide recreation activities for students with physical, mental or implied disabilities.
“Recreational Sports is committed to eliminating barriers to wellness for all students and campus communities through our programs, services and facilities. This project addresses a critical need on our campus and allows us to ensure our facilities are safe, comfortable and welcoming—to all. We will continue to partner and collaborate on issues that increase opportunities for participation and improve access for all Cal students,” said Brigitte Lossing, Interim Director of Recreational Sports.
The gender-inclusive locker room, expected to open in Fall 2018, will allow Recreational Sports to better serve the students and broader Cal community.
Project updates and details will be made available through the Rec Sports website over the coming months. For additional project details, please visit the Gender-Inclusive Locker Room Project – FAQ.