Fall semester at the Rainbow Center  

The Rainbow Center is located on the fourth floor on the Student Union and is a place for LGBTQ+ members and allies to come and have a safe space to be in. It’s open Monday through Friday from 9am until 7:30pm. Photo by Erik Criollo/The Daily Campus

As the fall semester begins, many organizations have prepared for an influx of students. The University of Connecticut’s Rainbow Center is among these groups. Founded in 1988, the Rainbow Center is one of UConn’s many cultural centers. They pride themselves on being an inclusive community for students, providing a safe and diverse space for the LGBTQIA+ population, as well as their allies.  

Many fun events are in store for the Rainbow Center this semester. They are hosting their annual Welcome Back Bash during the second week of classes, which will serve as an open house for students to visit the center, meet staff and learn about all the resources and programs that are provided. First and second year students, as well as transfer students, are able to sign up for the center’s FAMILEE Mentoring program. The program is led by second-year Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) graduate assistant, Sarah Abbey, and is designed to serve as a mentorship for new students who would like to get more acquainted with campus and all it has to offer. In my second year, I was a mentee in this program, and it provided a very welcoming environment for my transition to UConn.  

The Rainbow Center will also be celebrating LGBTQIA+ history month starting in October. While details of the plans for this month have not been released yet, the center will be hosting their annual Rainbow Center Symposium on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. This event showcases many LGBTQIA+ presentations, aimed at educating the larger community. Presentation and project applications for this event are now open. Registration to attend the event has opened up as well. More information on the symposium, as well as a preview of last year’s schedule, can be viewed on the Rainbow Center website.  

The Rainbow Center welcomes anyone into the space and has many events throughout the semester. Some things throughout the center are the boardgames, LGBTQ+ reading/movies and couches for anyone to use or borrow. Photo by Erik Criollo/The Daily Campus

If you would like to earn course credits while learning about LGBTQIA+ representation, center coordinator Chris Richard will be teaching UNIV 1820, titled “LGBTQIA+ Representation in Media” this fall. This a great opportunity to learn more about queer representation in media throughout history.  

Finally, the Rainbow Center is excited to announce a new partnership with Melanie Penalosa, program coordinator for Health Equity and Access to Care at Student Health and Wellness (SHaW). The “Lavender Resiliency Collective” is an educational support group aimed at providing a safe space for LGBTQIA+ identifying students to talk about any issues they may be facing. The group meets on Tuesday nights, and students who are interested can contact Melanie directly by emailing melanie.penalosa@uconn.edu. Space is limited, so be sure to sign up soon!  

With the semester beginning, it is clear to see that the Rainbow Center has much in store. In addition to programs and events, the center is also open to all as a space to take a break from your busy schedule, or as a quiet place to study. To learn more about the Rainbow Center and its many resources and programs made available, students can stop by from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday through Friday on the fourth floor of the Student Union or visit their website.  

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