September 07, 2023

Kyoti Tavarez '24 laughs at the opening of Susquehanna's LGBTQ+ Resource Center. Kyoti Tavarez ’24 laughs at the opening of Susquehanna's LGBTQ+ Resource Center.Susquehanna University recently dedicated the LGBTQ+ Resource Center as an on-campus space where queer students will feel supported and empowered.

“We want to promote students and community visibility by empowering and lifting up queer students and giving them a bigger voice on campus,” said Kyoti Tavarez ’24, a QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) student liaison with the resource center. “This is a space where we want to highlight queer students and their accomplishments, talents and joy.”

Located in the Scholars House and adjacent to the Charles B. Degenstein Campus Center, the center’s creation was due in part to growing demand among LGBTQ+-identifying students, said Dena Salerno, senior director of inclusion & diversity.

“After discussing the feasibility of a resource center for many years, talks really began in earnest when we had over 30% of a recent incoming class tell us that they identify as queer in some way,” Salerno said.

Specialty housing available for LGBTQ+ students

In addition to opening the resource center, Susquehanna also created specialty housing for LGBTQ+ students this year. Made available during the 2023–24 housing selection process last spring, the residence hall was also an option for new students. It contains mostly single rooms and is monitored by exterior security cameras. Access for the housing is restricted only to its residents, while the resource center is accessible via Susquehanna identification cards.

Tavarez said she and other student employees of the center are coordinating with offices across campus — from the Blough-Weis Library to the VIP Center and more — to bring more LGBTQ+ literature and special programming to the center.

Midday Mindfulness sessions, led by a certified student yoga instructor, are scheduled for Monday and Tuesday at 2 p.m., and Thursday and Friday at 4:10 p.m.

The center is staffed with members from the Division of Access, Equity & Belonging and VIP Center, as well as student employees, and is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by reservation.

“When you create spaces like this, a lot of people feel they aren’t allowed to come in, but I want to stress that everyone is welcome here,” Tavarez said.

For questions about Susquehanna’s LGBTQ+ Resource Center, contact Salerno.