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Religious, Secular, and Spiritual Identities
(Ahmadi & Cole, 2020; Nielsen & Small, 2019). As housing and residential life staff
encounter students who may be struggling to find these options, it can be important
to ask questions that give students permission to articulate their needs with someone
they see as an advocate. Housing and residential life staff need to be trained in sensitivity
toward these concerns as a pathway to become advocates for fulfilling these
needs. Thorough knowledge of the complexity of Kosher, Halal, and vegan and vegetarian
needs can help support staff in being forthcoming with students and asking
about their experience of food options on campus. Should the staff learn of concerns,
they can support students' discussions with dining services leadership about meal
options and how to effectively meet the needs of religious minorities on campus.
A second area to be considered is how to support RSSIs within admissions and
international student recruitment. In attempting to diversify the applicant and admitted
student pool, colleges and universities should consider how religious identities
affect student choice based on current institutional policies and practices. Housing
and residential life professionals can advance this work by advocating for support for
religious holidays that may be less familiar to campus members, facilitating programming
that creates broader religious literacy, and de-centering the Christian religious
holidays, which often dominate décor during November and December. If housing and
residential life professionals consider creative and innovative solutions to supporting
RSSIs, creating a culture in which such identities are highlighted, then their work
with admissions and international student service professionals can be a pathway to
effectively target and recruit students from religious minority groups.
CONCLUSION
Trends on college and university campuses related to attitudes of students regarding
RSSIs have changed dramatically since the early 21st century (see Mayhew et al., 2017;
Small & Bowman, 2012). Now is the time for housing and residential life professionals
to confront the long-standing missing pieces of the profession's commitment to " fostering
of a diverse, inclusive, and equitable membership with the capacity to influence
campus climate change " and to " advocacy and responsiveness that champion the concerns
of the profession " (Association of College and University Housing Officers - International
[ACUHO-I], 2020, p. 2). To do this requires more than procedures; it requires a
change of mindset that begins by working together in exploring our biases, confronting
long-standing oppressive systems, and effectively engaging in a relearning process.
Housing and residential life staff serve as some of the most important professionals
on campus. Some of the most impactful conversations and experiences for
students happen within residences; as these settings are a micro community from
which the entire campus takes shape, beginning conversation in these spaces would
be a tremendous step forward. Though consideration of RSSIs has been a challenge
for housing and residential life professionals, now is the time to begin a conversation
about religious, secular, and spiritual identities and thereby advance practices and
policies that support and nurture a more inclusive and equitable experience for all of
our students. 
66 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

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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