Montclair State University’s LGBT-friendly Stone Hall, located directly to the right of Bohn Hall and to the left of the Center of Environmental and Life Sciences, is finally on its feet.
Construction workers began gutting the hall in the beginning of November 2015, and Stone was intended to open Aug. 1 of 2016. The date was then postponed to Aug. 20, but the building ended up actually opening on Sept. 4 after many months of setbacks.
Many have heard that Stone Hall is a residence hall for students who do not identify with a gender, but that is not the case. Stone is a living community for solely first-year freshmen and transfer students. However, the majority of the 146 residents are part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, which is likely where the rumor originated.
Upon entering the building, Rebecca “Becky” Mungiole and Zakkiyya “Kiyya” Greene, both sophomores, were more than happy to share this backstory of Stone Hall.
Many know that Stone was once an office building, but most are unaware of what it was even before that: an all-boys dormitory in the 1970s and ‘80s. According to Mungiole, “It smelt bad.”
“You have no idea how many men in around their 50s walk in asking to see what the building looks like now,” she said.
Housing only approximately 150 students this semester, Stone Hall’s residents say there is a wonderful sense of community among the group. “It is so chill living here,” said freshman Sheldine Volcy. “I get along with all the residents. It’s a very ‘together’ community. There is no, ‘Oh, we all don’t like this one person.’ Everyone is friends.”
Hanging with Volcy in the common area was fellow freshman and aspiring fashion PR specialist, Jason Kunzman. “I like it,” he said. “I like how accepting it is because I am gay. Everyone gets along with each other because it is so small. Everyone is friends, like she said,” he explained, motioning to Volcy on his left.
The two went on to explain that the residence hall has only two floors, boys on the first floor and girls on the second.
“My whole floor is girls, so people feel more comfortable walking around in their towel when they get out of the shower or when they have no makeup on,” Volcy said. “I don’t care who sees me with no makeup on, but a lot of people do care,” she laughed. “You really get to know people here. The view is great, too.”
Volcy and Kunzman said that there is also a one-floor lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender friendly living area called the Stonewall Suites, located on the first floor of Dinallo Heights, between Sam’s Place and the Recreation Center. They shared that one of their close friends applied to transfer there, but never ended up going through with it.
Now that the university has extended the concrete walkway behind Stone Hall, the campus-renowned open view of the New York City skyline is visible from the back of the residence hall, even further accentuating its beauty.
Exhibiting the warm togetherness of Stone Hall, Volcy shouted and waved her friend over that just walked through the front door after grabbing some lunch. Zachary Nora, who identifies as bisexual, is a transfer student from Middlesex County Community College. “I have a lot more friends here than I would have made living in any other building,” Nora said.
“When Associate VP Kathy Ragan and I met a number of residents during the House Calls program earlier this semester, the response from the residents to their new home was overwhelmingly positive,” said John Delate, director of Residence Life at Montclair State.