Truman State University opened its first LGBTQ+ Resource Center Feb. 23. Truman held a ribbon cutting event to commemorate the moment.
The ribbon cutting event marked the opening of the center’s student lounge, located at Baldwin Hall room 101. The Resource Center is a part of the Center for Diversity and Inclusion office, which is also on the first floor of Baldwin Hall.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center is still a work in progress, Shania Montufar, LGBTQ+ Resource Center advisory board member, said. Montufar said they are still working on getting student workers for the lounge.
“[The LGBTQ+ Resource Center] is something students at Truman have talked about for a really long time,” Montufar said. “So, there has been a student desire to have a center like this on campus for upwards of ten, fifteen years.”
The student lounge is open during regular building hours Monday through Friday. The lounge has various resources available, including LGBTQ+ related books and condoms. Other organizations have been in contact with the Resource Center and have posted advertisements on the center’s bulletin board.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center’s student lounge is completely made up of donated items. A donation drive provided the rugs, lamps, various pride flags and other items. University surplus donated the larger furniture in the room, such as couches and chairs. Janet Gooch, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, helped the center to find and secure a space for the student lounge, Montufar said during the event.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center will host its first official event April 1 on the Quad as a part of Truman’s Diversity Week. The event is not happening until April because the Resource Center wants to have an opening event that can include everyone that wants to participate, Kennedy Cooper, Student Government Diversity and Inclusion chair, said. An outdoor event is the only way to successfully include everyone, Cooper said. The ribbon cutting ceremony only involved advisory board members and administrators who helped to create the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. This is because of the room’s small size and inability to comfortably accommodate more people.
The advisory board of the center is composed of members from Student Government, members of CDI, representatives from some relevant student organizations and some faculty, Montufar said. The advisory board is currently working to organize the structure of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Montufar said there are around 15 people involved in the advisory board.
On a petition that gauged interest in opening the Resource Center, many students indicated they were interested in health. Because of this, the advisory board is working with members of the Nursing Department faculty and the Women’s Resource Center. “Health” can span from sexual health to mental health resources. The petition garnered about 1,007 signatures, Montufar said during the event.
Montufar said these connections have helped to provide the LGBTQ+ Resource Center with other resources. Montufar said the Resource Center received all of its sexual health resources from non-profits and the state of Missouri because of these connections.
During the event, Montufar said Student Government has been involved with the creation of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center beginning in 2010. Since then, Student Government has passed four resolutions for the center, citing a need for targeted support for LGBTQ+ community members.
Sue Thomas, University president, attended the ribbon cutting event.
“These are the kinds of things that make Truman really proud,” Thomas said when prompted to comment. “When we talk to prospective students who are coming to Truman, one of the things we talk about is how we want students to feel welcome.”