The Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success hosted a community welcome event to start the new semester at Iowa State.
The Center space is currently closed in compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines.The event was held via Zoom.
There were a variety of participants, including freshmen, a doctoral student and Iowa State faculty. Brad Freihoefer, director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, and Cheltzie Miller-Bailey, assistant director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, moderated the event.
This event was meant for students to connect, learn about the Center and its staff and find out more about the LGBTQIA+ opportunities at Iowa State. It consisted of both large group sessions and breakout sessions. During the large session, Miller-Bailey and Freihoefer shared information about resources and events on campus.
“Through Microsoft Teams, the Center will be virtual,” Freihoefer said. “Different events will take place in teams, and there will be so many opportunities to connect with each other.”
There are still many ways to be involved on campus while following Iowa State safety guidelines. One of the events mentioned was WelcomeFest, where students can connect with Ames as a whole, according to Miller-Bailey.
Another opportunity for LGBTQIA+ students is a student conference, which was largely advocated for by Freihoefer and students.
“The Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC), is the largest student-run LGBTQIA+ college conference in the country,” Freihoefer said. “And it’s in the Midwest, of all places.”
For the last half of the event, participants were sent into breakout sessions. During these sessions, students were more personal and shared their experiences with LGBTQIA+ campus organizations and the Center.
Justin Conover, a graduate student in ecology, evolution and organismal biology and participant, mentioned oSTEM, which is an LGBTQIA+ group dedicated to queer students in STEM.
“They tour lab spaces if someone is working in a research lab,” Conover said. “We’ll have special events at the observatory and talk about queer astronomers and how certain observations were not recognized.”