LGBTQ hosts first spring open house in new center
Rebecca Marie Sasnett / The Daily Wildcat
Juan Pereyra and Katie Kilby stand outside of the LGBTQ resource center. Pereyra is an internship coordinator for the resource center and Kilby is the pride alliance co-director.
The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Affairs and Pride Alliance are hosting a Spring Open House today to welcome students and faculty into their new center and kick off the spring semester.
LGBTQ Affairs works to build, sustain and strengthen a safe and open environment for faculty, students, alumni, parents and guests of all gender identities and sexual orientations, according to its mission statement.
“A lot of the time, students come to this campus not knowing where to find friends or who they can meet,” said Juan Pereyra, the graduate intern coordinator for LGBTQ Affairs. “It’s a dual purpose: We are doing activism to change policy and get more rights for LGBTQ people on campus, but also providing a social space for students to get to know each other and feel safe in, where they can be who they are and not have to hide it.”
This open house is particularly special to LGBTQ Affairs because it is the first official spring since the group moved in to the new LGBTQ Resource Center last April, said Jennifer Hoefle-Olson, the program director for LGBTQ Affairs. LGBTQ Affairs previously occupied a space in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership.
“Before, we were in a cubicle that had a shower curtain and other people could still hear your conversation,” Pereyra said. “That was difficult because LGBTQ students sometimes need that sense of privacy, because there are sensitive issues that are talked about.”
Students will have the opportunity to meet the staff and interns who help run the center, as well as become familiar with the new space, said Katie Kilby, co-director of Pride Alliance.
Many students still haven’t had the opportunity to spend time in the space and make it their campus home, Kilby said.
“We hope that this open house will help break down that barrier,” Kilby said. “It’s really an opportunity to talk with people, to ask questions and get to know more about what we do.”
This event helps highlight the work the LGBTQ community is doing on campus and showcase the new center, according to Hoefle-Olson.
“Definitely getting a physical space that we can call a center has been at the top of my list,” Hoefle-Olson said. “I really see this as a result of years and years of advocacy, and it’s really exciting to be able to offer this to students, staff, faculty and alumni.”