As a leader in the student housing space, it’s important for the Preiss Company to operate properties in ways which allow our residents to feel comfortable with their surroundings. We believe that our residents should be able to fully express themselves without fear of harm and with knowledge that they will be heard. Unfortunately, many of our residents who are a part of marginalized communities do not feel that way, and recently one of our properties has taken the lead to help with that initiative.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Austin West Campus staff members to dive deeper into what it takes to become a Safe Space, and how positively it can impact not only the property, but the community around it.
To be completely honest, living in Raleigh, I am extremely familiar with the Safe Spaces sticker and what exactly it represents. While it did start initially as an LGBTQ+ initiative, it has expanded to help and assist any kind of hate crime. If anyone is experiencing a dangerous or harmful situation, a certified Safe Space is there to be a place of refuge, where staff members of a place of work are trained to aid and support those who might feel unsafe.
Typically, these Safe Spaces are small retail businesses or even restaurants. So, how did the Austin West Campus Properties find the inspiration to become a Safe Space? The staff informed me that originally, it was an initiative of the Rainbow Coalition Group in our DEI Council to demonstrate inclusivity. After seeing so many Safe Space stickers around Austin, TX themselves, and having spoken on it in the council, they felt inspired to specifically take action. Signature 1909, Axis West Campus, and Villas/Venue on Guadalupe are officially the first and only apartment complexes in all of Austin, TX to become a certified Safe Space. Talk about making history!
SafeSpace is a youth-led, mental health-focused organization that empowers young people to engage openly with their local schools and communities. We create and implement initiatives to change the conversation around mental health by educating and encouraging our peers to speak up, support others, and seek help when needed.