Student Pride Office provides resources, support for LGBTQ+ students
October 7, 2022
San Antonio College now has a dedicated space for students in the LGTBQ+ community. The Student Pride Office, which opened in August, helps connect LGBTQ+ students with resources on campus and in the community, and gives them a safe place where they can relax among friends.
It’s part of SAC’s mission to be an inclusive campus where everyone feels welcome.
That goal is reflected in the Student Pride Office’s physical space in room 256 of the Loftin Student Center, where bright colors, greenery, fun lighting and a neon sign reading “good vibes” set the tone. The space also includes comfortable seating, work space and an adjoining meeting room.
Student response to the new office has been positive, said Dr. Robyn Stassen, senior coordinator of Student Success.
“Some students want to chill, some come in specifically for a resource, and a lot of students just come and hang out after they get out of class,” Stassen said. “It’s fun to be that space for them.”
Viviane Altuzar, a third-semester student majoring in both engineering and political science, appreciates the effort to support the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
“I believe that the students who are part of the LGBTQ+ community should have a safe space,” Altuzar said. “In general, the campus is very open to the LGBTQ+ community. I haven’t had any problems at all, but this gives us our own space.”
Staff are available to assist students with their needs, whether it’s finding gender-neutral restrooms, accessing health care, finding LGBTQ+-friendly counseling or other services, with referrals to resources both on and off campus.
“Whatever issue they’re facing, we help them figure out where to go, even help them set up an appointment or whatever they might need,” Stassen said.
Several faculty members host office hours in the Student Pride Office, along with community organizations that visit campus. This helps create privacy for students who want to use the center without publicly announcing their LGBTQ+ status.
“That’s one way we’ve been able to overcome that barrier. Students could be coming to get a chemistry or English question answered, or coming to get a resource, and students outside won’t know what they’re coming in for,” Stassen said. “We don’t want students to feel uncomfortable or that they can’t come in because they would be outed.”
The office also respects student privacy by offering a confidential setting when necessary. If students want to discuss a problem, including discrimination, the Student Pride Office staff are there to help.
“We want students to know that if they feel like they’re being mistreated they can come and tell us and we will help them, because we’ve had students drop out of college for that reason,” Stassen said.
The office is affiliated with the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA), a campus club for students in the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. The group advocates for LGBTQ+ student needs and organizes events and activities that benefit the community on campus. Three faculty members are co-chairing the GSA, which is seeing increased activity and involvement, Stassen said.
“Having this physical space lets students know we really do care, we want you to be your best and we want to provide you with the resources you need to succeed,” Stassen said.