Up on the Student Union’s fourth floor in room 403 lies the Rainbow Center, one of the university’s cultural centers on campus. The most recently established center among the five, since the September of 1998, the Rainbow Center has been working to provide a safe space, resources and programs to members of the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. This past Friday, student staff tabled in the union to raise awareness about the Rainbow Center and what it has to offer. Students were able to sign up for the center’s newsletter and email list to be kept up to date on upcoming programs and announcements. Rainbow Center employees were also available to talk to students and answer questions.
“This is to make students aware that the Rainbow Center exists and what kind of resources that we offer to students on campus,” Lucas Brunt, a seventh-semester human development and family studies major, said. He works as an employee of the Rainbow Center. “[That] includes things like our programs, some of which are more fun, like our upcoming Halloween social and emo social.”
The ‘Spooky Night Social’ on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. offers students a fun Halloween-themed night of spooky games and fun activities at the Rainbow Center. Next month’s ‘Emo/2000s Nite,” on Friday, Nov.15 from 6-8 p.m. will be a “nostalgic night filled with good music and fun activities,” according to the event description.
“The Rainbow Center’s mission is to operate in the service of a more equitable world for all students, faculty, and staff at the University of Connecticut,” the center’s mission statement on their website states. “Using an intersectional lens, we center our work on advocating for, and increasing education, access, retention, identity development, and community-building for queer- and trans-spectrum communities.”
“We also have had more educational events, such as the keynote speaker for LGBTQ history month and our weekly ‘Out to Lunch Lecture Series,’” Brunt continued. “Out to Lunch” is an interdisciplinary lecture series that focuses on queer studies and is scheduled for Thursdays at 12:30 p.m. in the Rainbow Center. According to the Rainbow Center’s website, students may also take the series as a credit-bearing class, UNIV 2500, “Gender, Sexuality and Community: Queer Studies in an Interdisciplinary Apporach.” “[We also have] other big events, like the drag show in the spring semester.”
The UConn Drag Show, which premiered this past April, was a big undertaking for the center but proved to be a big hit among students and the audience. Besides the plethora of events and in-person resources that the Rainbow Center provides, Brunt also described what students can access and use online on their website.
“We have a lot of resources online, especially for transgender students such as a gender transition guide and a map of all the gender neutral bathrooms on campus,” Brunt highlighted the Rainbow Center’s website and pointed out the easily accessible “Transgender @ UConn” section. Along with the restroom map, the section also provides “Quick Answers,” which offers information about changing your display name in the university’s system, health insurance, housing, Husky One Card, legal name change, gender markers and pronouns and more pertaining to transgender students. There is also a list of resources and policies for students.
Along with an extensive calendar of all of the Rainbow Center’s programs and events, as well as any others on campus which may pertain to interested students, website visitors can request from a selection of presentations for classes, student organizations or departments. Other important resources include an LGBTQIA+ dictionary, a section on “Creating Inclusive Classrooms,” pronoun posters and the Rainbow Center library.
The Rainbow Center is open during the semester on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Be sure to check out their website and visit them in person to learn more about the amazing resources and events they offer to students in an effort to create a more inclusive, diverse and accepting environment on campus for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.