The LGBTQ+ resource center is getting close to opening its doors for Truman State University students who need resources on campus.
At the end of the fall 2021 semester, Truman’s Student Government and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion made an advisory board for the resource center.
Shania Montufar, president of Student Government, said the committee has only had one meeting so far to establish where the resource center will be. The final location of the center is room 101 in Baldwin Hall.
Montufar said this room was specifically requested, as Student Government hosted several events there. Not many classes were held in this room either. Montufar also said it was important that the center remain close to the CDI.
“The room is both visible and accessible, but it’s not something you accidentally walk into, which is important,” Montufar said.
Montufar said the timeline for putting together the resource center has been rather quick compared to how long it had been in discussion.
A resource drive was held for donations to help set up the center. Montufar said one reason for the donation drive was because of how many people on campus wanted to assist the center.
“A lot of student organizations and departments expressed interest in giving their support in any way possible last semester, so we decided to use that interest to try to get some of the smaller parts of the center established,” Montufar said.
Montufar said this also allows the timeline to progress quicker, as going through Student Government and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion would take more time.
The drive has been going very well, Montufar said. The center has received donations from parents, alumni and student organizations. Most of the items for the center have been purchased, with only a few things remaining. The donation drives runs until the end of January.
Donations include resource books, a bean bag, decorations and a coffee maker. The supplies reflect items requested from students as part of the initial petition for the center. Items are also being donated that are not on the list.
Kennedy Cooper, diversity and inclusion committee chair, hopes the center will be used to build a community. She said she hopes students learn about LGBTQ+ history, as well as host events there.
Cooper was one of the main members of Student Government who oversaw this resolution from conception to passage. She said it has been stressful because of the controversy surrounding the center last semester. Cooper said it is also very exciting for the center to open, as it has been a long road to get here.
Montufar said the center has been about ten years in the making.
Cooper said she feels that a lot of progress has been made recently because of a change in administration, as well as a lot of attention being placed on the resource center last semester. Cooper said she feels this elevated the issue for a lot of people and caused the center to progress faster.
Montufar said this is a critical issue for her personally. When she first joined Student Government, she joined the diversity committee to work on projects like the resource center.
Montufar said she felt the LGBTQ+ resource center was necessary to solidify a place on campus where students could seek support.
“In order to just make something consistent, I felt like a center was really necessary to provide that continual support,” Montufar said.
Montufar hopes that the resources present in the center will eventually result in policy changes or special programming in the future.
Montufar said several community members on the petition requested mental health resources specific to LGBTQ+ students. Montufar said it was very important to the committee that these target support resources were available to those who need them.
Montufar said she was contacted by several people from northeast Missouri voicing their support for the center, even though they were not students or not involved with Truman.
“I’m glad that we got here,” Montufar said.