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LGBTQ open house attracts diverse gathering

September 1, 2012

A rainbow flag waves in front of Powell House, the new home of the LGBTQ resource room. Photo by Melissa Kansky.

The resource room in Powell House has been designated for Elon University’s LGBTQ population, but the open house Aug. 31 attracted individuals representing various facets of campus life.

“At a lot of events you get mostly students or mostly staff, and the fact that we had someone from literally every constituency shows how our space and group are supported,” said Kirstin Ringelberg, LGBTQ office coordinator and associate professor of art history.

Students involved in Spectrum, faculty, alumni, community members and members of the administration attended the event that signaled the university’s recognition of its queer community.

“I think (the LGBTQ resource room) is significant just because it shows the diversity at Elon and encourages a climate of respect and understanding within that diversity, and that cuts across student-faculty lines,” said Patrick Rudd, coordinator of access services and assistant professor.

Those who attended the open house gathered on the porch of Powell House or inside the facility for refreshments and conversation. T-shirts designed to show affiliation or support for the LGBTQ community were distributed as well.

“I came over here to support the effort because, as my shirt says, I am a vocal ally,” said Jan Fuller, university chaplain, wearing one of the shirts available. “I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem, and I want to stand for the religious community in that way.”

Jan Fuller, university chaplain, talks with two other attendees at the open house Aug. 31.

Fuller said she hopes to show not all religious people think negatively of queer individuals and initiate a conversation about how religion functions in individuals’ lives.

“I think it’s nice where we can have this place where people can share their views and not get judged,” said sophomore Anna Von Wodtke.

While for junior Kevin Moore, president of Spectrum, the opening of the LGBTQ resource room provides him with a place to work, meet with other students and hold meetings for Spectrum, he thinks the facility holds significance for students who do not identify as queer as well.

“I think specifically for the allies, this is the place they can come and meet the people they want to be allies for,” Moore said.

The open house also attracted alumni dedicated to developing Elon’s LGBTQ network.

“Our alumni network has been working really hard to raise some awareness here on campus to make sure that it’s inclusive and welcoming,” said Lindsey Altvater, vice president of the LGBTQIA alumni network and member of the Class of 2009.

The resource room provides the Elon community with information and expertise regarding LGBTQ life and contains educational materials, such as books, magazines and DVDs.

The LGBTQ resource room, located in Powell House, contains literature that addresses various facets of LGBTQ life.

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