LGBT Resource Center celebrates 10 years of service

By Kevin Steiger

Ten years ago, the LGBT Resource Center set out on a mission to provide academic and personal support to students of the NIU LGBT community.

Andrea Drott, an interpersonal violence prevention health educator, was there at the opening of the LGBT Resource Center in 2003. Previously, there was a position in the University Programs and Activities office, now the Student Involvement and Leadership Development, that was dedicated to LGBT student services. Student, faculty and staff expressed a need for a resource center dedicated to serving the needs of LGBT students on campus. In March 2003, the LGBT Resource Center opened its doors with only one staff member, then-Director Margie Cook, according to Drott.

Charles Schumann, IT manager of Academic Computing Operations and Support, has also aided the LGBT community in the past.

“I personally have been providing counseling and advice to the LGBT RC and its customers,” Schumann said.

Located on the seventh floor of the Holmes Student Center, the LGBT Resource Center has been aiding student in various ways. The center hosts academic and socials open to the public. A resource library is provided to interested students, and the center also offers programs to develop leadership skills, according to Molly Holmes, director of the LGBT Resource Center.

“One of the most major accomplishments is the increase of the student body and facility utilizing the center,” Holmes said. “At the fall semester of this year we logged in as many visitors from last year.”

The Resource Center has seen a 40 percent increase in students using the center this year, Holmes said.

To get involved with the center, students can part take in the Ally Program. Ally leaders can show support by putting up LGBTQ signs across campus. In addition, they serve as volunteers to identify ways to help LGBT students join activities and services. Also, volunteers offer a respectful environment for anyone who wishes to discuss personal concerns.

“There are over 400 active Ally volunteers on campus,” Holmes said. “This year we’ve seen more people participate more than ever before.”