LGBT Center interim director talks programming, trainings

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This week we sat down with Shemariah Arki, the Interim Director for the Case Western Reserve University Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Center. For working purposes, LGBT is inclusive for all identities including asexual, gender queer, questioning and any gender nonconforming identity.

Work It Out

Feb. 17 was the third Work It Out at CWRU. Work It Out is a professional networking session open to undergraduate and, starting this year, graduate students. It is a forum for students who are curious about what it means to be an LGBT person or an ally in the workplace. Students are also given the opportunity to show their résumé to potential employers. The event was open to all students, not just LGBT students.

Lavender Graduation

On April 29 starting at 6 p.m., the third annual Lavender Graduation will take place. The Lavender Graduation is an event for LGBT seniors at CWRU. It is in partnership with the Alumni house. Awards will be given out: the Pride award for students and the Prism award for campus entities. The event allows for friends, family, faculty, staff and alumni to support and celebrate the graduates as important contributing members of the CWRU campus community.

Student Discussion Groups

The LGBT center at CWRU holds semi-weekly student discussion groups for LGBT-identifying students and anyone who wants to learn about the LGBT community. The groups “Girls Like Us”, “Guys Like Us”, “Am I Asexual?”, “Gender Resistance” and “Relatable” allow for confidential group discussions on prevalent issues in the LGBT community. No reservations are required, and it is open to all students regardless of identity or relationship statuses. For dates and times, see either the LGBT center website or Facebook page.

Diversity 360

The Diversity 360 initiative is a campus-wide training intended to build cross-cultural conversation and further student engagement and leadership. It was formed in response to the #webelonghere movement. It is sponsored by the LGBT Center at CWRU, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Office of Inclusion, Diversity & Equal Opportunity. This past week marked the launch of several pilot and training programs.

Safe Zone

The Safe Zone program aims to create a safe environment for LGBT students and staff on campus. Safe Zone workshops that are open to all CWRU community members are held regularly each semester to educate CWRU students and staff about prevalent issues in the LGBT community and how to be an effective ally. Stickers and magnets are given out upon completion of the workshop to show others that a person is working toward creating a safe and inclusive environment for LGBT people.

“The overarching goal of the LGBT Center is to work towards full equality for faculty, staff, students and administration on campus,” said Arki.