The nonprofit organization for queer advocacy Campus Pride added UCSB to its list of 33 colleges nationwide with a perfect 5-star LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index rating for its support of the LGBTQ community.
The university hosts several campus groups designed to support the queer community including Beyond the Binary, Friendly Undergraduate Queers In It Together, Bisexual Discussion Group, Queer Asian Pacific Islanders, Queer Student Union and the Associated Students Queer Commission — to name a small selection. The organizations sponsor a variety of events with the Resource Center for Sexual & Gender Diversity throughout the year and allow students to create a safe environment for all.
According to third-year philosophy major Danielle Stevens, the groups offer a niche for the campus’s diverse student constituency.
“Even though we don’t have a huge community, our presence is definitely known through the events we do and the ways we respond to incidents of hate,” Stevens said. “There’s so much diversity within the queer community, which is my favorite thing about it. We’re an exciting bunch with lots of opportunities to educate, inspire and empower.”
The Queer Student Union is one of the most encompassing groups and meets every week to promote the safety and acceptance for LGBTQ students. Former QSU Vice-Chair Maha Syed, a Slavic studies and psychology double major, said the group is just one of many working together to create an inclusive campus through event planning and outreach.
“There are currently around 10 active organizations that cater to or are have a majority membership of queer identified students and allies,” Syed said in an e-mail. “QSU is the largest of those organizations and has been around the longest. QSU has historically put on a lot of large-scale queer events, though as of the last few years we’re seeing a lot of focus on collaboration with other orgs as well.”
The A.S. Queer Commission funds various events throughout the year including Queer Pride, Queer Prom and Queer Wedding. Queer Commission Historian Evan Gillogley, a second-year economics and film & media studies major, said these programs foster understanding amongst LGBTQ groups while seeking to educate the local community.
To become involved with campus groups, visit the Office of Student Life website at www.sa.ucsb.edu/orgs.