UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity has moved to LL011 in the HUB- Robeson Center. The move was a result of needing more space, closer proximity to other diversity and inclusion offices, along with the need for additional resources to support the growing communities.
The new location has been designed through student feedback, guided by various conversations about the desire to create a space dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and community. The goal of the new location is to incorporate that meaning into the space through key design features along with intentional artwork commissioned to foster a foundation in advocacy and justice. The center is newly connected to the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) by an interior stairway and houses the office for the assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion in Student Affairs. The co-location of these units is projected to heighten partnerships and projects along with centering aspects of diversity and inclusion within the core of the Penn State student experience. The location will give the center the ability to amplify its outreach while allowing student communities to engage across identity and experience.
"I think for me the new space expands the narrative around diversity, equity, and inclusion and directs it more intentionally toward belonging as well,” said Brian Patchcoski, director of the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity. “Although we still are a space focusing on sexual and gender diversity, this year of big transitions goes along with our initiatives to create an environment for fostering development beyond one’s individual identities but rather engaging our communities for who they are holistically.”
As a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, the center will continue to offer educational, social, and supportive programming, along with workshops and individual consolations with new features such as a dedicated quiet area, a 24/7 open-space area opening in February, a conference room, and a private wellness room hosting CAPS Chat, HIV Testing, and other support programs. The new features will create a sense of privacy in the space while also maintaining transparency throughout. This space is a culmination of work across justice movements and within community dialogue in response to student’s inquiries and visions for the future.
The new space also incorporates an art installation as part of the Campus Arts Initiative (Campus Arts), a project of Penn State's Strategic Planning Seed Grant program. Students and staff collaborated with artist Tamara Gayer to conceptualize artwork that beautifies the space and provides a deep connection to the themes of identity and inclusion.
When looking at future goals and expectations, this relocation is seen as a growing point for the center. The institutional commitment to the center and the larger work of culture change continues to allow our community to move forward to achieve higher and more dynamic goals.
“Our work isn’t done, every Penn Stater, faculty, staff, and student has the ability to keep part of this work moving forward and we welcome them to be part of the movement that takes place here and across our commonwealth. We hope people can be uniquely themselves at Penn State, while also sharing in the collective 'We Are' that celebrates our larger University community,” said Patchcoski.