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 Tuesday, October 10, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter

IN THE SPOTLIGHT


Center Creates a Supportive Environment for GLBT Students
By Linda Besen, Publications and Creative Services

There's an optimal combination of fast-paced activity, home-like comfort, serious discussion and just plain fun that welcomes students to college life at CU-Boulder. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) students, feeling welcome is particularly crucial.

The GLBT Resource Center works hard to promote equal opportunity for successful academic, social and personal development for all GLBT students, starting when they first arrive on campus. This fall, student welcome activities included a barbecue and a performance by comedian Jennifer Lanier, who "leaves folks laughing, cajoled into thinking about diversity, acceptance and letting go of judgment."

For a touch of home, the lounge in the resource center is available as a gathering place where students can relax, have a snack, meet friends and study. It is often imbued with the smell of pizza and the sounds of both laughter and serious talk.

According to Stephanie Wilenchek, director of the GLBT Resource Center, some of the serious issues that GLBT students face on campus and in the larger community include struggles with coming out, bias-motivated incidents of hate and violence, ongoing and everyday experiences of homophobia, heterosexism and transphobia, higher rates of suicide attempts among GLBT youth (30 percent higher than non-GLBT peers) and being disowned or marginalized by family members and friends.

Faculty and staff who want to help GLBT students feel welcome could attend a Safe Zone Training. The GLBT Resource Center offers these four-hour trainings throughout the year to provide participants with the skills to create a safer space for GLBT students within the university community.

For insight into GLBT issues, attend a performance of the Interactive Theater. Comprised of 12 paid student actors from CU-Boulder, the Interactive Theater provides professionally scripted and improvisational performances addressing difficult issues that affect our community.

This past summer, CU-Boulder was recognized as one of the 100 best campuses for GLBT students and will be included in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students. CU-Boulder's positive environment, programs and services and GLBT student coalitions were the basis for the distinction.

For more information about the GLBT Resource Center and to learn when Safe Zone Training is scheduled, see the website. For more information about Interactive Theater, see the web page.


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