August 27, 2007
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine:
SRU opens new resource center for GLBTQ students
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Slippery Rock University students had access to a new Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resource Center when they began the school year Monday. The University converted a former lounge in the basement of the University Union into a base for gay studies, advocacy and outreach.
"We've created a space for students to come and study sexuality - their own and that which may be different from their own - in a welcoming environment with Internet access and numerous publications," said Colleen Cooke, SRU parks and recreation faculty member and co-chair of the President's Commission for LGBTQ Issues.
Cooke and graduate student Kat Setzer, of Coatesville, obtained an $8,000 diversity grant from the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to open the center. SRU's Bailey Library contributed $1,000 to buy resources, Cooke said.
The funding covers one year, so additional campus and community support is needed, Cooke said. A grand opening is planned for October, to coincide with National Coming Out Day.
A student employee will staff the center on a part-time basis. Students will have open access to computers, DVDs and local and national publications such as "Pittsburgh's Out" and "The Advocate."
"Our hope is that this becomes a visible resource center where people will begin to ask questions about who we are and see our many contributions to campus life," Cooke said. "While we have generally had good experiences here at Slippery Rock University, we want it to continue to get better, and we want to combat the homophobia and stigma associated with being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender."
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.