San Diego State University, the region’s oldest, largest and most diverse university, has made great strides over the last decade to be a more welcoming, inclusive environment for LGBTQ students, faculty and staff. I have witnessed this positive progression as I have been a part of the campus community for the past 11 years- first as a student and now as a staff member.
In the fall of 1998 I entered SDSU as a shy freshman, feeling as if I were the only gay person on campus. The Internet was in its mainstream infancy and social networking sites had yet to be born. The primary way of finding other gay people was quite archaic – attending student organization meetings, hanging out at coffee houses and searching for fliers advertising LGBT activities on bulletin boards.
I was lucky enough to stumble upon the location of the LGBT Student Union office and took note of the meeting times posted on their window. It took me two months to garner the courage to attend, but when I finally did, I was hooked.
Certainly, that story has played out for countless other students over the years, who have sought out information and made their way to a campus LGBT activity or meeting. It’s often a frightening first step, but it’s a step which opens a door to empowerment once they arrive. Today SDSU’s LGBT community is incredibly active and there are so many opportunities to get involved. Since it’s now much easier to gather information and resources on the internet, I wanted to share some of SDSU’s online LGBT resources in this column.
San Diego State University’s new diversity website was launched this summer. It includes a variety of resources about the myriad of diversity issues at SDSU and includes a special section devoted to the LGBTQ community. The goal of this site is to become an institutionalized, “one-stop shop” for LGBTQ information at SDSU. For more information visit www.sdsu.edu/diversity and click on “LGBTQ”
The Pride at State online resources are a collaborative project between the Pride Action Committee and myself. This website is maintained by volunteers and includes a large photo gallery with pictures from SDSU LGBT events dating back to 1999. It also includes an event calendar. For more information visit www.prideatstate.net
SDSU’s Safe Zones program was established in fall 2008 and has already been successful in certifying close to 100 campus “allies”, who have pledged to be safe, open resource for LGBTQ students. The Safe Zones website includes information about the program, how to get involved, educational resources and more. For more information visit www.safezones.sdsu.edu
SDSU’S queer-based social sorority, Gamma Rho Lambda, also has a great website with information about their chapter, membership, and activities. For more information visit www.grlsdsu.com
The two campus LGBT student organizations, the Pride Action Committee (PAC), and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Student Union (PAC), both have Facebook pages. These pages provide information about upcoming activities and provide a discussion forum. Visit www.facebook.com and search “PAC at San Diego State University” or “LGBTSU (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Union) at SDSU” for more information.
Last but not least, for over eight years the SDSU LGBT community has had a great resource with the popular “PrideAtState” e-mail list. The list regularly posts out information of interest to the SDSU community including scholarships, activities and community events. To join the listsend a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, it’s easy to access information about the LGBT community at SDSU. Just hop on to one of these websites and you’ll find all there is to offer. It’s definitely much easier than the newsletters in “plain brown envelopes” that I used to receive in the mail (in plain brown envelopes) back in 1998, and far easier then searching for fliers on bulletin boards.