The University of Calgary will soon boast a new centre promoting the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and queer community on campus. The new Qmunity opens on Nov. 3, providing a safe space and resources for the GLBTQ community and their allies on campus.
The Qmunity centre's mission is three fold, according to program coordinator Kris Schmidt.
"Its primary purpose is to provide a safe, comfortable environment for GLBTQ community on campus through its physical space and mandate," said Schmidt. "As well as to provide peer support and to advocate for GLBTQ issues on campus."
An open house is planned for the launch of the centre 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov.3 in the Qmunity centre. The new space is located on the main floor of MacHall beside the SU events and conference centre.
"The open house is a good time to get to know the centre, what resources we provide and to get to know what we do," said Schmidt.
The Qmunity centre is a Quality Money project of the Students' Union. Quality Money, an initiative that takes $1.5 million from tuition annually, funds special projects that enhance the student experience. The SU created a centre specifically for the GLBTQ community because members advocated for a space on campus exclusively oriented to gender and sexual diversity.
"Qmunity is a place to network, a place to study and a place read up on GLBTQ issues," said vice-president student life Jennifer Abbott.
"I think it is very important that we have a resource for students whether they are questioning or whether they are clearly established in either their sexual or gender identity," said Schmidt. "Qmunity is a space where you can come hang out and not worry about any sort of judgments as well as find pertinent resources."
"I think it is a pretty decent idea," said fourth-year health science student David Gaunt. "I wouldn't say I had many places to go. I didn't have much connection to the gay community until I started dating. Looking back at my first couple years, it would have been cool to have a resource like that."
"I think everyone needs a place to feel safe," said third-year international relations student Oran Ben-zion. "I think that universities should be the leader on this path to pluralism and to accepting everyone."
There are also volunteer opportunities and peer support available.
Gaunt thinks the centre will be a good place for the GLBTQ community and allies to go and connect.
"It is accepted, but it is quietly accepted," said Gaunt about alternative sexuality at the school. "No one disapproves but on the other side of the coin, there is no one running around with rainbow flags."
"The centre provides a physical reminder to people that they aren't alone in facing GLBTQ issues," said Schmidt. "It reminds people that they are part of GLBTQ campus community as well as the larger Calgary community."