Drexel University, in Philadelphia, opened their new LGBTQA Student Center on Tuesday. The creation of the center is the result of months of petitioning and advocacy from a coalition of the university’s LGBTQ student groups. The student-run LGBTQ group FUSE (Foundation of Undergraduates for Sexual Equality) launched an online petition in February of 2012, asking the university to create a center for LGBTQ students. They drew attention to the fact that, at the time, Drexel had a student body of over over 12,000 undergraduates and close to 7,000 graduate students, but no centralized resource center or safe space for their queer student population. Although Drexel is home to several LGBTQ groups, including FUSE, OUTlaws, OUTgrads, and LGBTQ Health Alliance, these groups were scattered across campus.
The center is located within the Creese Student Center, and staffed by graduate students from the Couple and Family Therapy Department in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. It is supported by the Student Center for Inclusion & Culture, which facilitates multi-cultural and LGBTQ programming on campus.
Student leaders were directly involved in the planning of the LGBTQA center. When first proposing the center, FUSE members wrote a potential budget to present to Drexel administration. Members of the organization, including FUSE President Maureen Nolan, were on an advisory board along with administration and staff to plan the creation of the center. Maureen told Drexel NOW that, “[The center] is not only a symbol of respect and allegiance to the LGBT students, but a necessity.”