Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Safe and Sound

As a third-year student in college, there's no way I can deny the importance of having places on campus where I feel truly safe. Whether this means somewhere that’s just comfortable, quiet, and ideal for de-stressing or somewhere where I feel equal and protected enough to express my ideas and opinions about the part of the world closest to me and my identity. The new Gender & Sexuality Center – now conveniently located on the second floor in the new Student Activity Center next to Gregory Gym – is exactly what I needed.

While the GSC was once a significantly smaller space – although no less vital and welcoming – in the Student Services Building, it is now a wide open space full of people who are there because they’re wide awake. What does that mean exactly? To me, it means they are accepting, desire real conversation, and have a genuine love for anyone who comes into the center. As a queer-identified human being, as a thirsty-for-knowledge student, these are important things. The GSC is a safe place for all people, including those LGBTQ-identified, where everyone is an ally.

I’ve spoken to a lot of students that feel as though some sort of connection is missing from their college life. I have to say that perhaps this is exactly where you should be. Yes, there are comfortable couches, plenty of studying space equipped with outlets, but there is more than that. The moment I walk into the center, I come face-to-face with bookshelves. There is a plethora of books on identity of all types, including gender and sexuality, and also an impressive film library – all things that can be checked out for free. Behind those bookshelves is a long floral-print couch and behind that, a large window with open blinds, letting the sunlight come in. You should come in, too – even if just for a moment.

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