Newly opened Pride Center provides resources, support and mentorship to LGBTQ students

Newly opened Pride Center provides resources, support and mentorship to LGBTQ students

Mayra Escobedo

After almost two years of students’ hard work and petitioning for the creation of an LGBTQ resource center on campus, the Pride Center opened its doors for the first time yesterday.

Peer mentors gather in the new Pride Center located in the USU. The center aims to provide LGBTQ students with a safe space where they can talk with peer mentors, relax away from the everyday pressures of campus life and gain a sense of community. Photo credit: Kat Russell/ Multimedia Editor

The Pride Center is a place where students can go and talk to peers, get information on coming out, receive same sex health information, meet other members of the community, connect with students that may be going through similar experiences and be able to speak with peer mentors, said Sarina Loeb, coordinator for the Pride Center and LGBTQ Initiatives.

Almost two years ago, some students in the LGBTA club along with other students came up with the idea for a LGBTQ resource center. Together they prepared the paperwork needed to open up a resource center and got petitions started to show support for the opening of such a center, said Arutyun Ambartsumyan, president of the LGBTA club.

“I feel really great and proud to be a part of the process; from an idea to the physical space,” said Diego Flores, a senior psychology major and LGBTQ peer mentor who helped in sit-ins and with petitions.

The Peer Mentor Program is one of the resources that will be offered at the Pride Center.

Students will be able to meet with student mentors that will offer support and guidance during the coming out process, and will be able to talk to mentors about any concerns they have.

The Pride Center will be located in the former Living Well Lounge near the Student Recreation Center. The space for the center was chosen because it was available and it is a good location in terms of visibility, said Loeb.

The Pride Center will be open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

A grand opening celebration will be held on Sept. 27 and will include a ribbon cutting ceremony, free food and entertainment. There will be a reception at 9 a.m. and the grand opening celebration will begin at 10 a.m., said Hammond.

With the opening of the Pride Center, CSUN will be joining the list of UC and CSU campuses that have LGBT centers opened.

“Every UC institution has a center and now Cal State Northridge will be leading the way,” said Loeb.

Funding for the Pride Center will mostly come from the University Student Union, since the board of directors voted on supporting its funding, additional funding will come from the Campus Quality Fee, which will be used for the Peer Mentor Program and a portion of the renovations and furnishings for the Pride Center, said Hammond.

The opening of the Pride Center means different things to the campus, students and the people that will be involved with the center.

The Pride Center is a “step in the right direction for us to be seen and heard on campus more than we already have,” said Flores.

For CSUN its being able to support LGBTQ students.

“There is a large amount of LGBTQ students on campus and they needed a space and place to be comfortable and we wanted to do what we could to support them,” said Hammond.

Ambartsumyan sees the opening of the center as bridging a gap between the university and queer students.

“It provides a safe place for students to go and find support, resources, connect with each
other, and get networking that will help them in the future,” said Ambartsumyan.

The opening of the Pride Center is already generating buzz among student.

“I hear students saying that they can’t wait for it to open,” said Loeb.

Ambartsumyan has also heard excitement and anticipation from students about the opening of the Pride Center.

“Students are very excited and can’t wait to go in and check it out,” said Ambartsumyan.
“They are excited to have all these resource and to communicate with other students who understand the struggles and what they are going through.”