LGBTQ Resource Center to host meet and greet Friday
The LGBTQ Resource Center is holding a meet and greet that will give students the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the school’s LGBTQ community as well as the center’s many student volunteers and employees. The meet and greet starts at noon Friday at the LGBTQ Resource Center of the Student Center North, room N201, and will last half an hour.
“The meet and greet is a chance for students who aren’t quite yet involved to be formally introduced to the resource center and some of its most frequent faces,” LGBTQ Resource Center Programming Assistant Max Manto said. “We always offer tours and extend a courteous hand to these newer faces, but it tends to be much more effective when we plan a longer event of chatting and activities to really get people comfortable.”
Lorraine Schroeder, the director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, emphasized the importance of the center and why it is important for students to get involved.
“The work we do helps staff, faculty and students have a greater understanding of these marginalized identities and this creates a more inclusive, welcoming environment,” Schroeder said. “When we provide support to LGBTQ students they are more likely to overcome challenges, graduate from college and lead healthier lives.”
Even people outside the resource center believe that events like the meet and greet are essential to helping students in the LGBTQ community. Melissa Cook is a licensed professional counselor who got her master’s degree from UH. She works extensively with members of the LGBTQ community and believes that these types of events are integral to helping LGBTQ students be successful.
“College is an extremely challenging time for some LGBTQ students and being involved with the campus resource center can help mitigate many of those issues,” Cook said. “Events like the meet and greet are vitally important because they bring in students that might feel uncomfortable if they went to the resource center on their own.”
Schroeder wants students to know that being a member of the LGBTQ community in college doesn’t have to be a struggle and that the resource center will always be an available outlet.
“Coming out of the closet can be a very scary process,” Schroeder said. “It is hard to get the message out that students are safe in the center even if they are not quite sure about sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a safe place to ask questions and explore that.”
She also wants students to know that the resource center is not just for students who are having problems, and she hopes the meet and greet will show that.
“The truth is we have many students that are very comfortable with themselves and may even be student leaders,” Schroeder said. “They just like the laid-back atmosphere and chilling with other students.”
Schroeder and members from the center stressed that interested students should stop by and check it out.
“The meet and greet will be a blast,” Manto said. “We hold fun ice-breaker activities to start conversations, we allow LGBTQ-related student organization officers to say some words about their respective groups, and we even offer food and refreshments as icing on the cake.”