Construction will soon start on a new Tech service, an LGBT resource center.
The resource center will be able to offer services that the Tech LGBT community that are currently missing, including a safe space for members of the LBGT community, a place to discuss issues, recommend organizations or even just a place to talk to somebody who can help.
“[The resource center] will just be another central hub to rally support for the LGBT community,” said Ahsan Khan, SGA’s Vice President of Campus Affairs.
Tech hopes to complete the new resource center sometime next semester. The resource center will be situated next to the Student Publications offices in the Smithgall Student Services Building. After much thought, the Smithgall Building was finally decided on because of its central, but still discrete location and because it was not the most expensive option for construction.
“With it by the Student Publications office, students could be going anywhere,” Khan said.
The idea of an LGBT resource center has been growing for a while around the Tech campus. Several organizations, including ODK and Pride Alliance requested space for an LGBT safe space. Tech also noticed that LGBT resource centers were being created in different universities around the U.S.
“We looked around to other universities…and saw resource centers cropping up everywhere,” Khan said.
Unlike at other universities, Tech wanted to keep the resource center smaller and more discrete, which meant that simply copying another university’s format would not work.
“Tech is such a unique campus climate so we can’t really use a model. We were really starting from scratch,” Khan said.
“[Feedback] has been really good so far. Students seem to be really excited, it’s something progressive that we really care about. We are definitely putting our foot through the door,” Khan said.
Even alumni are looking forward to seeing a positive change directed at this particular student group.
“The Tech Pride Alumni Affinity Group is pleased that plans for a LGBTQ Resource Center are coming to fruition after many years of hard work. It is our hope that this new position and center will help to better clarify a central leadership position at Tech for LGBTQ students, faculty, and staff,” said Katie Olliff, President of the Tech Pride Alumni Affinity Group.
According to Olliff, the process of building a sense of community takes safety and trust, respect and collaboration. Tech is undergoing the ups and downs of this process in developing an LGBT-specific resource center on campus.
“At times we may have wanted greater clarity or a quicker process, but as alumni, we have the memory of earlier days of LGBTQ issues at Tech and know what a huge step forward this is,” Olliff said.