The LGBTQIA+ resource center is one of those departments that a lot of students have never heard of, yet has a large impact on the campus. The resource center sets out to create a safe, inclusive space that helps foster academic success.
The center juggles many different responsibilities and doesn’t necessarily have one single purpose. It acts as a safe and inclusive space where students who identify under the rainbow can hangout and engage with their peers. On the other hand, it provides access to a suite of resources and organizations that an average student may not have known was out there. The LGBTQIA+ resource center has built up a large network of organizations than help LGBTQIA+ people with every single issue you could think of. If you have a question pertaining to anything LGBTQIA+ they have an answer, or they can point you towards someone that does.
This year the resource center will be turning from a hangout spot to an actual office. “For the last two years, probably because on coordinator wasn’t trained by another coordinator, people got confused about what the center was so it sort of became a hangout spot, which it wasn’t supposed to be,” speculated Rhys Spinazzola, a student coordinator. Marshall Levitt, senior student coordinator, said, “We know there is a need for a social queer space on campus, but we want to refine what this place is actually is, have a specific set of rules for the center and to fill this place with events. We want to push people to develop queer friendships outside of the center and expand their social lives.”
The center has also started a program called TMI Tuesdays, where they will hold conversations about LGBTQ history, stuff that was left out of sex education, politics, and other topics that are hard to start talking about. “We want to make sure that people have an appropriate time and place to approach these topics,” said Rhys Spinazzola. “Our goal for TMI Tuesdays is to really talk about the things they never covered when I was in high school and important grosser things that people don’t really know about,” said Marshall Levitt, senior student coordinator.
Along with educating students and providing resources to LGBTQIA+ students, the resource center also advocates for gender equity and visibility on campus. On Oct. 11, the resource center held an event to commemorate National Coming Out day. “Coming out is one of the most important events in a queer person’s life,” said Levitt. “The way I look at it is that it’s the moment where a person decides to keep their family or not.” The resource center set up a panel where speakers from the center talked about their coming out experiences and to field questions from the public. Also, the panel acted as an advertisement for the center, to bring in any LGBTIQA+ students who may have not known about the center before.
The LGBTQIA+ resource center right now is still organizing, but soon, what once was a neglected hangout spot will become a professional office that will be helping students for decades to come.