Tips and Tricks photo

Kipp Van Dyke, a Student Services staff member, holds a sign in support of the LGBTQIA+ community Oct. 11 at the National Coming Out Day photoshoot at The Center.

For some students, getting acquainted with a college campus can be terrifying. It can be worse for individuals with marginalized identities who do not always feel welcome. To combat this, many groups and offices at Iowa State are looking to make others feel welcome and offer tips and tricks for new students.

One of these marginalized groups is the LGBTQIA+ community, where students from all races, genders, religions, abilities and socioeconomic status meet. Belonging to such a diverse community can be daunting to some students, but at Iowa State there are people trying to make new students feel accepted.

“Representation is so, so important and being able to see other folks with similar identities is super cool and can lead to long-lasting friendships,” said Trinity Dearborn, president of Pride Alliance and president of Aromantic Asexual Alliance.

Reaching Out

The LGBTQIA+ community includes active members of the Iowa State campus. It is more than likely that there will be an individual with an identity that falls under that umbrella in every classroom and in every major.

“I feel like a lot of people don't know that there's such a large population of LGBTQIA+ folks here in the middle of Iowa,” Dearborn said. “There is an accepting and supportive community, sometimes it just takes some time to find it.”

Dearborn said that some ways to find the community can be as easy as asking someone their pronouns during an introduction or positively commenting on someone’s Pride button in passing.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for people’s social media,” Dearborn said. “It is a quick and easy way to get connected and stay connected.”

Many professors at Iowa State go by the names on their roll call sheet and assume gender pronouns based off of those names, so reaching out them either before class or after class is an easy and simple way for an introduction that includes the name people want to go by and their pronouns.

The Center

The Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success, located at room 3224 in the Memorial Union, is a space for LGBTQIA+ students and allies to meet, hangout and form a community at Iowa State. The Center, as it is referred to by many at Iowa State, hosts many events throughout the year to build relationships between students and inform students on different parts of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“It is very easy to get isolated, so I tell folks that The Center is not the end-all be-all but is a place to gain quick information and access the latest events and happenings,” said Brad Freihoefer, director of the Center for LGBTQIA+ Student Success.

The Center’s space is centered on “community;” it has white boards filled with student organization information, meeting spaces for students, tons of comfortable seating and a large “dining” table where close to ten students can share a meal or work on projects together.

“The Center offers a lot of resources for students in the LGBTQIA+ community,” Dearborn said. “Whether it be a cool place to chill, meeting new people or getting help navigating campus, the Center has it all.”

The Center can sometimes be hard to find for new students, but by either asking Memorial Union staff or by following signs on the third floor of the Memorial Union, it should be a breeze.

Student Orgs

Students Organizations are a huge part of student life on Iowa State’s campus and the LGBTQIA+ community is involved in that area of campus as well. There are currently nine registered student orgs that focus on the LGBTQIA+ community.

One of the oldest LGBTQIA+ student orgs on campus is Pride Alliance, though it has gone by other names in its long history at Iowa State.

Pride Alliance’s mission states that it exists “to provide a safe space where students can discuss and learn about the LGBTA community, their sexual orientation and gender identity, have support in their acceptance of themselves and others as we strive to eliminate homophobia and heterosexism in all aspects of life on and off campus.”

Other student orgs include Aromantic Asexual Alliance, oSTEM, Queer* Graduate Student Association, Transcendence, Students for Cultivating Change, CVM Spectrum, Delta Lambda Phi Beta Lambda Chapter and Gamma Rho Lambda Omicron Chapter.

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