Under a grand arch of balloons, white tables slowly filled with people of a diversity rarely seen at CU. Loud, joyful music and a few spontaneous dancers covered the lawn.
The cause for this celebration was CU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center’s annual welcome back barbecue. The event lasted for two hours Wednesday on the Regent Lawn.
“We like to make all our campus events open to everyone, including the community. Not just GLBT members,” said Stephanie Wilenchek, director of the GLBT Resource Center.
There was no admission to the barbecue and guests had their choice of food in a buffet-style table while listening to speakers.
“Anyone who wants to reach out to GLBT members is welcome. We have both campus and community organizations come to speak every year,” Wilenchek said.
The staff said they were happy with the turnout.
“I think it went far beyond our expectations in terms of people,” said Maria Genao-Homs, GLBT’s Outreach Coordinator. “We ran out of food, which I think is a good sign.”
Some people thought more marketing was needed.
“They did a really good job of advertising,” said junior transfer student and biology major, Masha Conner. “Basically Facebook is the way to go, but I think people should send some more invitations to straight people.”
Staff from the Resource Center are trying to change this.
“The center isn’t just for GLBT members, it’s also for allies of the community,” Genao-Homs said. “The center is a great place to study and just hang out and we encourage people to come by.”
Other than being a safe place for anyone, the center is also a place where events are organized.
“We have a lot of movie screenings at the center,” Genao-Homs said. “People should come check them out.”
As an institution, the CU GLBT Resource Center formed in 1993, began by former Chancellor, James Corbridge and the Chancellor’s Committee on GLBT Issues.
In the 1993 Report of the Chancellor’s Task Force on Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Issues, the committee made a series of recommendations under the conclusion that GLBT members were targets of discrimination and were, therefore, “denied full participation in the academic and social life of the University.”
These recommendations began a program now known as the GLBT Resource Center.
According to the 1993 report, CU was considered an intimidating environment for GLBT members.
Its director said she believes the center has helped.
“I feel that since the program has been established there is more hope for getting rid of any hostility,” Wilenchek said.
Summed up, the mission statement of the GLBT Resource Center “is to educate, support and advocate,” Wilenchek said.
“We provide education through our resource library and student-leader training,” Wilenchek said. “We have support in providing a safe environment and mentorship and we advocate by helping students who have been victimized in bias-motivated incidents.”
According to Wilenchek, this year the GLBT Resource Center will now receive additional funding from the University of Colorado Student Union for the sum of $80,000.
“We’re really revamping our system,” Wilenchek said. “We’re updating our Web site and media interactions.”
For more information on upcoming events, volunteer services and contact information, visit the CU GLBT Resource Center’s Web site at www.colorado.edu/glbtrc or for information on GLBT groups on campus visit www.q-resources.com
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jesse Flint at firstname.lastname@example.org.