LGBTQ Students and Western New England University
Get Ready for a Great Four Years!
Amazing things can happen when you feel like you belong. That’s what you’ll find in a community that supports your dreams and aspirations. For LGBTQ students in particular, finding a college community that makes you feel valued and provides a network of support through a comprehensive First Year Program is key. Western New England University offers programming and mentoring to help all students feel that this is a place where they can excel.
Are you ready to join them?
As a prospective student, one of your first points of contact should be Admissions Counselor and LGBTQ Liaison Kaitlyn O'Konis. From questions about housing to getting involved on campus, Ryan is ready to provide answers and help you make connections with people and to resources in the learning community that you will soon call home.
Here are some other important resources you should know about:
Gender / Sexuality Alliance
Many LGBTQ students and their friends find common ground through the Gender/Sexuality Alliance (GSA), a group of students, staff, and faculty dedicated to promoting equality on campus. GSA offers a community of friendship and support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, and allies as well as a forum for the discussion of issues relating to gender, sexuality, and the GLBTQA community. Diverse views and confidentiality are always respected. GSA members take part in many activities and events such as Transgender Day of Remembrance, National Day of Silence, numerous national campaigns, and an array of fun social events.
The GLBTQA Resource Room
Located in room 136 of Rivers Memorial Hall, this is a safe space on campus for students, staff, and faculty to socialize, relax, or learn about current GLBTQA news and issues. The GLBTQA Resource Room is home to numerous books, DVDs, newspapers, magazines, brochures, and an online library. The GLBTQA Resource Room is operated by the Division of Student Affairs, and has received funding from the Alumni Association Grant, Office of Student Activities & Leadership Development, and Office of Diversity Programs and Services.
Gender Neutral Housing
The Gender Neutral Housing program allows sophomores, juniors, seniors, and graduate students to reside in on-campus apartments, townhouses and suites with students of a different gender. Housing in each bedroom will be “same sex,” however, within an apartment, students of different sexes or genders may live together. For instance, in a two-bedroom apartment, two women and two men may apply to be housed together.
The Counseling Services Office is open and affirming for students of all gender identities and sexual orientations. Services offered specific to LGBTQ Students and allies include:
- Support counseling for individuals and significant others
- Family meetings/counseling
- Advocacy with University Administration and/or Faculty
- Safe Space training
- Networking and referrals to medical, social, and legal resources in the community
- Parent support and education
The Office of Spiritual Life offers a safe place and open heart to individuals of all faiths, races, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, and backgrounds. Its staff also welcomes those who identify as “spiritual but not religious.”
The staff at Health Services has been treating students in transition with hormone replacement therapy for more than 10 years. Usually the student is prescribed the hormone by the provider, who is managing treatment, but the University’s staff most often gives the actual injections. Additionally, if needed, staff may draw the blood and send the sample to the lab for evaluation—then forward results on to the primary provider. Remember, there is no charge to the insurer or patient to be seen by Health Services.
Safe Space Training
We have a Safe Space educational and awareness program on campus to visibly identify people and places that are “safe” for LGBTQA students. After training in this educational program, participants receive a placard with a Golden Bear and a Rainbow Flag on it. The Safe Space team is made up of students. Faculty and staff publicizes the program, hand out materials, provides basic training to allies who wish to be involved, and educate the larger school community about the meaning of and importance of building safe spaces for LGBTQA and all students impacted by anti-LGBTQA bias.
If you are interested in the Safe Space program, please contact:
Lectures and Courses
Western New England University hosts a wide-variety of lectures and events that address topics of interest to the LGBTQ community. With one of the most prominent LGBT legal faculty in the country, the School of Law is a great resource for students. The School’s Center for Gender & Sexuality Studies offers programming on topics ranging from housing discrimination to domestic violence. These events are free and open to all students and the public.
Undergraduates may also learn more about Gender Studies through specific coursework such as the Sociology of Gender, Women in Literature, Women and Film, and the Psychology of Women, or choose to minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.