The LGBTQA Student Center celebrated its one-year anniversary Oct. 22. The event began with an open house, which included a tour of the center and a chance to speak with the students and staff involved. The center is an outlet for any issue that students may have, and provides and a safe and friendly place for the LGBTQ community and supporters.
Despite the center’s young age, the people involved have accomplished a lot over the span of a year. It’s very small in space but it has been completely remodeled from last year. The center was described as more like a small office last year, but Kathy Anderson, a coordinator for the Steinbright Career Development Center and a cosponsor to the center from the beginning, now described it as “a very inviting space that provides a wonderful atmosphere in the campus.”
The center, in addition to remodeling, has accomplished much this past year. Tatiana Diaz, the director of the Student Center for Inclusion and Culture, explained, “I’m happy to say that a lot has changed in the last year. When the space first opened, we were only open 15 hours per week. Now, thanks to dedicated students, we have increased our hours of operation to 25.5 per week.”
The center is an important space to many students and together they are making it grow. Diaz continued, “Additionally, last fall as we were just getting off the ground, we limited our programing to individual events within LGBT History Month and Transgender Remembrance Day. Now we have added ongoing programing including the LGBTea and Coffee Chat series, student LGBT 101 and ally trainings and a free condom program.”
The center has accomplished so much in the past year and this is only the beginning for it. “Most of all, in the last year we have strengthened our relationships and partnerships with offices, academic programs and students across the University and in the Philadelphia community. We still have the opportunity for growth and will continue to work hard towards fulfilling our mission,” Diaz said.
The center took part in the Philadelphia Pride Parade, and has received a letter from President Barack Obama commemorating the center for their work and accomplishments. The center is flourishing and will continue to grow.
There was a reception to the event at the Paul Peck Alumni Center where several people spoke to congratulate the center for all of its accomplishments this year. Speakers included
dean of students David Ruth, Diaz, President of the Foundation of Undergraduates for Sexual Equality Emily Ranieri, and Rebecca Reyman, one of the students who petitioned for the creation of the center. There were many guests there to celebrate the success of the center this year and show their support for its continued growth in the years to come.
Ranieri explained how FUSE works very closely with the center and how its growth is very beneficial for not only FUSE itself, but the campus as a whole.
Ruth pledged his continued support to the center, and noted how it is quickly outgrowing its space.