Where did the Pride Center go? LGBTQ+ Services Joins Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at SVSU

KOCHVILLE TWP, MI—The Saginaw Valley State University Pride Center, like many other LGBTQ+ service groups at other universities, had drawn its crowd of people seeking unity, support, and education.

Last fall, a number of students asked questions after noticing the program’s web link redirected to a new page.

The new redirect is currently going to a blank page that comes from the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs at SVSU. Scrolling up a page on the main offshoot of the office from the SVSU homepage, visitors are greeted with a group photo and blurb about the services offered by Multicultural Student Affairs.

Roberto Garcia, Doctor of Education and Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, gave a brief history of Multicultural Affairs and the Pride Center.

Garcia said the school still has a Pride Center, but in November 2021 it was renamed and moved. The center is now located at SC-111, a newly constructed space west of the hall near the Student Life Center. The new MSA office and the new eSports team lab were added after the recent growth of both programs.

Garcia and articles in the school newspaper show that the Pride Center began as the last such school-supported entity in the state in 2015, but LGBTQ+ student rallies began as a student organization registered in 2006 as the Gay-Straight Alliance before being called Living Proud.

Former Living Proud treasurer and high school teacher William Yates said, “LGBTQ+ students often tend to face greater challenges than their cisgender heterosexual peers, including issues like housing insecurity, discrimination or family relationships.

Yates said many small groups started informally for years before the Gay-Straight Alliance, but these issues can make a major transition and financial burden like college an even bigger task while continuing. against the daily threat of homophobia and transphobia in society and the cascading problems. who as a result.

“Having a resource center on campus, either as part of the social work department as it was in the past, or as part of the multicultural service center, makes it easier for these students to seek help,” Yates said. “Housing by groups like Multicultural Services or previously the Pride Center is essential, whether financially by being connected with aid organizations, available grants and scholarships, or being informed of policies that help them become aware of their rights and options. They help socially by organizing meetings, events, support groups, etc. or medically and psychologically by connecting students with affirmative doctors, clinics, and psychologists.

He adds that because LGBTQIA+ people are seen as minorities in society, having an official university-funded resource shows an attempt to send the implicit message of welcome and accommodation, as c This is hopefully the case for other minority students served by the Multicultural Service Center.

Garcia says the goal of the programs and services that will continue to be offered by MSA is to educate and advocate for the inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community on the SVSU campus while providing a safe space, support services as well as references to other members of the community at all stages of the coming out process.

Targeted training sessions and workshops with LGBTQ+ services have already been held for students, faculty and staff.

To name one, Garcia says “OUTtober” will return as the on-campus version of Pride Month which is celebrated during the regular school year in October. Other planned events include OUT Group Support Sessions, BBQueer, and Pins and Pride Craft Night.

As for goals, Garcia said MSA and LGBTQ+ services plan to increase their presence and communication with the rest of campus. Part of that includes increasing RSO and group collaborations from four to six for OUTtober events, and collaborating with Great Lakes Bay Pride for an information night to better introduce students to LGBTQ+ community resources in the Great Lakes Bay region.

Pride Month coverage from the Saginaw News and the Bay City Times:

Drag show caps Great Lakes Pride Festival’s return to Saginaw

Gay bars once thrived in Saginaw, but none remain. LGBTQ advocates seek revival.

June is officially LGBTQ Pride Month in Bay City this year, after mayor’s proclamation

More from MLive:

Going to the Bay City Fireworks Festival? Here are some things to know

Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum Hosts 9th Annual Touch-A-Truck

One of Saginaw’s new principals wins National Educator ‘Oscar’ for her time as a teacher

$1.2 million to help rural college students in central Michigan

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