University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s LGBTQA+ Center celebrates 15th anniversary
LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s LGBTQA+ Center celebrated 15 years of service to the community and students on Wednesday.
Director Pat Tetreault said the growth the center has seen over the years has allowed it to provide the community more resources.
“We do educational presentations and workshops and just try to provide support to the student body and, again, create a really welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone,” she said.
Up until 2007, UNL did not have a staffed resource center for LGBT students.
“There were always individual faculty and staff who were working to support students,” Tetreault said.
It gives students like Austin Christensen, who graduated in 2017, a place to meet like-minded individuals and feel accepted.
“It was the first time I could feel validated in who I was with my sexuality,” Christensen said. “I hadn’t met anyone like me. I know they are out there, but when you come from small-town Nebraska, it’s hard to have that community, so coming to the center was that community for me.”
UNL grad Lauren Falconer, who interned with the center as a student, has turned her experience into a career with local nonprofits such as OutNebraska.
“It gave me confidence in the work that I was doing because I know how important it was to me as a student and to have organizations and centers like the resource centers growing up is just so important,” she said. “And it felt so good knowing that I can help other people like me.”
Tetreault said the center will expand its footprint again, moving the director’s office to room 345 and moving the Lavender Closet, a resource that provides free gender-affirming clothes and accessories to students, into the center.