Weber State University soon may have its first Queer Resource Center on campus. While the university currently has both a gay-straight alliance and an LGBT initiative, there is still no space for queer students and their allies to call their own.
But Harrison Spendlove, Weber State LGBT Initiatives diversity advocate, has been working on a proposal for several months that would open a permanent office space for the resource center which will be staffed by a faculty member.
While the LGBT Initiatives already has a faculty adviser, Erik Ashby, he is not a full-time staff member dedicated to the program.
“We want to show the student senate how important it is for the students and the community at large to have this center,” Spendlove said.
He is asking for both students and members of the community to write letters asking the senate to approve the proposal for the opening of a permanent office. Emails and questions can be sent to [email protected].
Both Utah State University and the University of Utah have a resource center for queer students and the proposed WSU facility would serve a similar purpose.
“I like to use my own story as an example when people ask me why we need a center,” Spendlove said. “If there had been a place for me to go when I was first coming out, I would have avoided a lot of trouble and problems. There was no place for me to use as a resource for help. I didn’t know where to turn or what to do. I didn’t know where to meet people and associate with other gay people in a healthy way.”
The Center’s funding would come from the school. However, private donations are also being sought for startup expenses. A fundraiser, the Black and White Ball, is in the works for this spring and neighboring QSAs from other schools will be invited. Also, a survey is about to be circulated on the WSU campus asking students what they need or expect from the LGBT Initiatives. The results of the survey will be presented to the student senate to illustrate empirical data about the need for a center in the community.
“We want to show the school that it’s not just important for students, but also for the community at large,” Spendlove said. “We need everyone’s help. Whether you’re a student or not, if you could just take a few minutes to write a note and email it in, we can really make a difference.”