LGBT Resource Center opens its doors for spring
Media and information junior Elliot Zirulnik, right, concentrates while playing “Tumbling Towers” against journalism junior Monica Reida at the LGBT Resource Center Spring Open House on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 at the Student Services building. The open house gave students a chance to gather information about the program, ask questions and meet new people. Katie Stiefel/ The State News
Sitting next to a table of board games and a bookshelf stocked with titles such as “The Gender Frontier” and “Lesbian and Gay Voices,” psychology senior and queer student Jennifer Wallsteadt made herself comfortable in the LGBT Resource Center, located in room 302 of Student Services.
She visited the resource center during its Spring Open House on Monday to find out what events they have planned for the upcoming semester. Although the resource center’s Open House was geared toward opening its doors to new students and transfers, Wallsteadt treats it like her home.
“Before I was out about my sexuality, I actually passed by a couple times before I came in,” Wallsteadt said, adding at first, she was too nervous to walk inside. “But when I did come in, they were very accepting (and) they let me say things at my own pace.”
Wallsteadt said she found not only comfort in the LGBT Resource Center, but it also motivated her to find her niche in other student groups on campus.
“If (students) are at the point in their life where they want to look for places in the LGBT category, this is a great place to start,” she said.
Through the resource center’s weekly updates, Wallsteadt discovered QCROSS, a group for queer Christians.
“I always thought you could be queer and Christian, which is partly why I jumped right into (QCROSS),” said Wallsteadt, who now serves as the group’s secretary. “That’s an area people need to know a lot about and be (more) comfortable with.”
In addition to publicizing events and clubs going on in the MSU community that could help students who visit the resource center, its staff focuses on supporting students through all stages of college life, whether they’re freshmen, transfers or recent graduates.
Sitting beneath a framed rainbow flag and a flyer for a transgender, intersex and genderqueer student support group, Program Assistant Denzel McCampbell said the center also trains students outside of the LBGT spectrum to act as allies for the community.
“The boundaries are endless with us,” McCampbell said. “We have a wide array of things to offer from just coming over to say ‘Hi,’ just coming in if you need someone to talk to or the training programs we have.”
McCampbell said most importantly, they strive to be a home where students can go if they need help or just a place to hang out.
Since Monica Reida transferred to MSU last semester, the journalism junior said she struggled making connections with the students around her. After stopping by the resource center twice a week, she began to see a huge difference in her social life.
“I realized I needed a support network as someone who is a member of the LGBT community,” Reida said between turns of her Jenga game. “I came here toward the end of the semester to start getting in touch.”