Friday, August 27, 2010
UIS cuts ribbon on new LGBTQ Resource Office
After years of hard work the University of Illinois Springfield officially cut the ribbon on its new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Resource Office on August 26, 2010.
“What really brought me here was the excitement and the newness of this, the position is brand new, the office in many ways is new,” said Kerry Poynter, UIS’ first ever LGBTQ Resource Office Director.
LBGTQ students have been pushing for a resource office to help them deal with issues like coming out to their parents and to improve relations with fellow students.
“It’s a pretty emotional experience to see it opening. A lot of people have invested a lot of time and energy to have this happen today,” said Renee Rathjen, a senior political science major.
The new 750 square foot office offers a safe space for LGBTQ and allied students to meet one another and show support. Poynter hopes the office will help bring the community together, reach across cultural lines and open up dialogue amongst students.
“It’s exciting for me to bring all those people together and all that energy together and really shape something for the future here,” he said.
Poynter has previously worked for LGBTQ resources offices at Duke University in North Carolina, Columbia University in New York City and New York University.
“It’s very affirming to know that the institution is willing to put its money where its mouth is and say we really support you and we’re going to provide the services you deserve,” said Rathjen.
Poynter plans to conduct an assessment program this semester to bring students together and let them talk about their experiences at UIS. The goal is to use that information to shape the mission of the office.