Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2 - 55

Trends: Left at the Door to the Residence Hall:
Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities
and the Missing Engagement with
Housing and Residential Life
RELIGIOUS, SECULAR, AND SPIRITUAL IDENTITIES (RSSIs) are an important
aspect of the complex experiences of students in higher education. Often
dismissed or forgotten by higher education professionals, RSSIs have shifted
drastically over the 20+ years since Love and Talbot first wrote about them in 1999.
While scholarship on RSSIs has steadily moved forward in the broader higher
education discourse, it has been notably absent in the more specific area of housing
and residential life. This article seeks to help practitioners consider RSSIs as a vital
component of their efforts to support students by providing guidance on pathways
to engage with religious and non-religious identities. Additionally, the article
outlines the arguments pinpointing the importance of the topic in the advancement
of housing and residential life efforts on campuses.
L
ove and Talbot's publication of " Defining Spiritual Development: A Missing
Consideration for Student Affairs " in 1999 could be considered one of the more
defining moments in an emerging field of study in religious, secular, and spiritual
identities (RSSIs). The article, which sought to define " spiritual development "
among other topics, has been cited often in the literature even though it is far past its
prime; its message stands the test of time and can serve as a means of introduction to
RSSIs. Love and Talbot seek to not only define spirituality and spiritual development,
but also to introduce readers to spiritual development theory. A critical evaluation will
find that the authors draw heavily from the work of psychologists such as Maslow,
Kohlberg, and Gilligan alongside the publications of Chickering, a pioneer in meaning-making
and purpose in higher education. Their conclusions imply that higher
education has undervalued, underserved, and under-researched spirituality for far too
long. More than 20 years later, much has changed regarding this area of identity, and
the body of literature today is reflective of the implication that Love and Talbot set
forth. In the following, we seek to call attention to RSSIs specifically within the field
of housing and residential life, which has rarely touched upon such discussions.
Volume 48, No. 2 * 2022 55

Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Journal of College & University Student Housing Volume 48, No. 2

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