The Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success now officially has an assistant director, and she was welcomed with a reception on Wednesday.
Over 30 individuals packed into the Center’s space from 4 to 5 p.m. on Wednesday. Everyone from faculty, staff, students and even some Ames community members showed up to welcome Cheltzie Miller-Bailey, the new assistant director for the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, to the team.
“It feels really exciting; I think it felt official on my first day, but it definitely feels good to have people feel excited just to have the position filled and know that it is a new era for the Center,” Miller-Bailey said.
The event overall was very casual, with Miller-Bailey introducing herself to everyone who walked through the door and getting to know the community she will be serving in her new role.
Miller-Bailey said there was a variety of people in attendance, from friends and family to acquaintances and fresh faces, all of whom she said she had a great time talking with.
“I knew a lot of people who were here, and it was great to hear them just be supportive of me, but in general for the people I had just met for the first time today, they offered me support and guidance or openness,” Miller-Bailey said. “It was like a breath of fresh air, like a deep exhale for me just because you could tell there was a genuine interest in not just connecting with the Center but in helping me as an employee kind of comfortable.”
Apart from just talking with Miller-Bailey and admiring the Center’s space and all it provides for the LGBTQIA+ community, attendees were also able to enjoy light refreshments. These came in the form of a cake welcoming Miller-Bailey to the team and a lot of cupcakes in a rainbow of colors.
As the Center usually does at most of its events, there was music playing in the background. For this event, it was a Spotfiy playlist put together by the Center staff called “Queer Bops,” which included songs from artists like Lady Gaga, Troye Sivan, Ariana Grande and Katy Perry.
Another large part of the event was a “Share a note with Cheltzie” whiteboard, where attendees were able to leave comments for Miller-Bailey to read.
These comments ranged from ‘congratulations’ and ‘welcome’ to excitement about future collaboration and even bar recommendations in Ames.
“The event went well, it was great,” said Brad Freihoefer, director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success. “It was a chance to provide an introduction to our new staff and allow folks to have an in-person conversation with Cheltzie; it’s a new era.”