LGBTQ Student Center Year in Review 17-18
Since 2010, The Kent State University Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Student Center serves as a safe space where individuals can explore their identities and foster connections with other members of the LGBTQ community and their allies. Additionally, the Center connects students to valuable University and community resources and provides students with meaningful involvement and leadership opportunities. Resources that the Center connects students to include: the QUEST mentorship program, the LGBTQ Library, the LGBTQ Emergency Fund, the LGBT studies minor, University counseling services, University legal services, the universal restroom map, the preferred name change process, and gender inclusive housing. Student involvement and leadership opportunities provided through the Kent State University LGBTQ Student Center include: PRIDE!Kent, Threads (LGBTQ students of color), and Trans*Fusion.
The Quest Mentorship Program looks to connect Kent State students with marginalized genders and sexualities to LGBTQ+ and ally community members who will provide general support and career-related guidance. This program helps students consider possible career paths and educates them on what life can be like for LGBTQ adults in the workforce. This year we were able to successfully match 23 mentor/mentee pairs!
The Center Expansion
This fall, the LGBTQ Student Center expanded from a space of 130 square feet to one of 1,700 square feet! This new, larger space has been furnished with brand new furniture and includes two offices, a student work area, and a spacious lounge. The University invested a total of $160,000 in the expansion of this new space.To celebrate the successful expansion of the Center, alumni and community members were invited to the Grand Re-Opening held on Wednesday September 27, 2017. University President Beverly Warren, Vice President Alfreda Brown, Vice President Steve Sokany, and Associate Vice President Dana Lawless-Andric attended the event and spoke about the success of the Center.
Lavender Graduation builds on the university-wide commencement events as an officially supported ceremony, honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ and ally students at Kent State University. The 292 attendees celebrated the accomplishments of over 60 graduates and heard speeches from University President Beverly Warren, Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Vice President Alfreda Brown, Alumni Spotlight Dr. Tom Serwatka, and Student Spotlight Bridget Mazzola. In addition, the ceremony honored recipients of the LGBTQ Center scholarships and winners of the Rising Star, Out & Proud Student Leader, Outstanding Collaborative Ally, KSU Faculty/Staff, Community Impact, and Alumni awards.
Alumni Spotlight-Dr. Tom Serwatka
Tom serves as the Vice President and Chief of Staff at the University of North Florida. Prior to his current role, Tom served the University of North Florida as the Special Education Program Director, Associate Dean for the College of Education and Human Services, Graduate Dean and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Special Assistant to the President and Dean of Graduate Studies and Research.
Tom is a two-time graduate of Kent State University, having pursued both his master’s and doctoral degrees here. While at Kent State, Tom was involved in his coursework focused on the education of deaf students and in the Kent Gay Liberation Front, the organization that is now known as Pride!Kent.
Student Spotlight-Bridget Mazzola
Bridget is graduating summa cum laude this Spring with a degree in Sociology and a concentration in Sociological Social Psychology. She completed an undergraduate honors thesis titled "A Neurosociological Approach to Gender Bias in STEM Careers". Additionally, she is an intern at the LGBTQ Student Center and is a part-time victim advocate at Victim Assistance Program in Akron. Following graduation, she plans to teach English as a second language in Ecuador for one year and then earn her master’s degree in Social Work in California.