Purdue Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) Center

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My name is Lowell Kane and I am the Director of Student Engagement and Belonging and the Director of the Purdue University LGBTQ Center, which is our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Center, a space that is open to all students, faculty, staff, and community, community members. We were founded in 2012 and we have a mission that’s driven by education, outreach, and support. We focus, of course, on the areas that are centered around gender and sexuality. And we really have a foundation that believes that centers like ours, are crucial supports for students, staff, and faculty that shows that the university cares about the whole student and all of their well-being.

We have a very dynamic calendar of activities, programs, events, services that provide a sense of community for everybody. And we know that that enables folks to really persist and succeed from Boiler Gold Rush all the way straight through to graduation. And so we know that we look forward to seeing you and welcoming you and making certain that this place is part of your home. We do that through, as I said, programming, through our LGBTQ Studies minor, we have great relationships with our academic areas on campus, we have tutoring, we have a computer lab, we have all kinds of great resources in our lending library, as well as training and workshops that are open to everybody. So there’s an opportunity for you to engage and belong at the LGBTQ Center no matter who you are or where you’re at. The greatest impacts that having an LGBTQ Center, being that we are still one of the newer centers on campus is visibility. Gender and sexuality might be a topic that not only is a hot button issue in a lot of areas but, you know, it’s not necessarily a seen or highly visible, necessarily, a vector of diversity and inclusion.

And so the fact that we are intentionally providing resources, support, staff, programming, and services that explicitly focus on LGBTQ-plus inclusion at Purdue University really sets us up as an elite institution in higher education. Very few universities have the level of resources, the level of commitment to inclusion that Purdue has demonstrated in establishing the LGBTQ Center that we have on our campus. And so we have four full-time staff members, we have graduate and student workers, and a whole array of programs and services that really, again, as I said, puts us into an elite category of less than about 10% of universities in all higher education across the whole country. And so that idea of making it such a visible commitment is really, I think, so powerful. Yes, so we have in recent years been consistently recognized as one of the top LGBTQ-friendly campuses in the country.

We are also among the topmost LGBTQ-friendly and affordable campuses in the country as well because we’ve done such a great job, of keeping tuition rates consistently low in higher education. And so we been also recognized for our LGBTQ study abroad program. And so our visibility in higher education is only gaining more and more traction as the years have gone on.

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