Celebrating the impactful work of LGBTQ+ and cultural centers

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LGBTQ+ centers play a central role in communities by providing a wide array of services including mental health counseling, cultural programs, educational programs and other helpful initiatives that work toward creating a more inclusive society. These centers provide a voice for members of the LGBTQ+ community by advocating for their rights and ensuring members of these communities receive fair treatment in the classroom, the workplace and other facets of society. 

Oct. 19 is LGBTQ+ Center Awareness Day and is a time to celebrate the work, services and activism of these LGBTQ+ centers. 

The Rainbow Center is UConn’s LGBTQ+ center and has a mission to make campus more equitable for all students through advocacy and education for and about the LGBTQ+ spectrum communities. 

The Rainbow Center conducted an Instagram takeover to celebrate the day and used their platform to highlight the other cultural centers on campus, which include the Asian American Cultural Center (ASACC), the Women’s Center, the African American Cultural Center (AACC), Native American Cultural Programs (NACP) and the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC). 

A key theme of the Instagram takeover was to celebrate all of the cultural centers on campus and to raise awareness of the important roles they play in their communities. Although the day is focused specifically on LGBTQ+ centers, the Rainbow Center shed light on all of the cultural centers and share the resources they have available to students. 

11/20/2019 Transgender Day of Remembrance by Molly Potter The Rainbow Center hosted an event in the Student Union in honor of Transgender Day of Remembrance.

The five cultural centers at UConn are composed of hardworking staff members that take part in meaningful, important work each and every day. They dedicate their time to creating a welcoming environment to allow students to feel comfortable being their true selves and reaching out for guidance and support when needed. 

To celebrate this day, let’s take a look back at the history of the Rainbow Center and the other cultural centers around campus as well as their individual goals and missions. 

The Rainbow Center officially opened in September 1998 as a result of years of planning and hard work by individuals who dreamt of creating a more inclusive environment on campus. The specific aim of the Center is to serve UConn’s diverse communities of gender identities, gender expressions and sexualities. 

The Center is celebrating its 22nd anniversary and has grown to have its own staff, office space and numerous resources to serve members of the LGBTQ+ community on campus. 

The ASACC opened in April 1993 to better serve the Asian American community at UConn. The center is focused on helping students explore and define their own cultural identity by providing support and resources that encourage personal development, community engagement and professional leadership. 

The Women’s Center was established in 1972 and is on a mission to better educate, advocate and provide services to help work toward achieving women’s equity on campus and within society. By building alliances and support networks, the center confronts societal challenges and helps women succeed. 

The AACC was established in 1968 to support African Americans in all aspects of campus life. The goal of the center is to create a welcoming and supportive environment for the African American student population. 

The NACP was created to serve the Native and Indigenous students on campus and to encourage them to embrace their Native roots. The center also focuses on educating about the history, culture, traditions and ways of life of Native communities. 

PRLACC was created to improve the status of Latinx students and promote understanding and appreciation of the wide diversity of Latin American cultures. The center works toward sponsoring educational and cultural programs, providing leadership opportunities and fostering connections with other members of the Latinx community. 

These five cultural centers at UConn work collaboratively toward the overarching goals of raising awareness about the issues that underrepresented populations on campus face, celebrating the diversity of students and moving toward being a more inclusive campus. 

By celebrating the diversity of the student population, these centers are partaking in meaningful work that seeks to better educate and advocate for the wide array of cultures and identities present among UConn students. 

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