By Nikayla Goddard, November 18 2019 —
Q: The SU Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity (Q Centre) celebrated its ninth birthday on Nov. 4 with an afternoon birthday party. Over 50 community members, SU representatives, volunteers and students attended the celebration and contributed to the disappearance of a large cake by the end of the day.
Aishwarya Harish and Greyson Mannella, Q Centre coordinators, said that the party was fantastic.
“We really felt that community connection when we saw everyone there,” Harish remarked.
The Q Centre’s birthday is officially on Nov. 3, but was celebrated on the following Monday. Q: The SU Centre for Sexual and Gender Diversity has come a long way since 2010, Mannella and Harish said.
“Originally they were in a utility closet, so it was a pretty small space at first,” Mannella chuckled. “Our current Volunteer Services Coordinator Katie LeBlanc was actually one of the first Q Coordinators. It had pretty humble beginnings. Originally, I think they had ten volunteers in total, and now we have 40, so it’s a really big shift. As the community has grown and the needs of the campus community have changed, we’ve shifted with it and grown a little bit ourselves. And it’s really exciting.”
Harish continued, “It was a student initiative, and it was really led and pushed by the Q of C and the other people on campus that really wanted something like this. So to see it come this far is really, really awesome.”
The Q Centre currently has four main initiatives going. The first is the Q Centre’s Queer Mentoring program, which involves pairing a queer student with an established queer role model. The mentorship extends to general university and student troubles and general life advice in addition to sexuality-based topics such as their identity and coming out. The second initiative is their Q Centre Pride Scholarship, awarded to two students in fall and winter. They also host discussion nights and monthly mindfulness sessions geared specifically towards the LGBTQ+ community.
Smaller projects take place too, such as hosting discussion sessions with the Consent Awareness and Sexual Education Club (CASE) or Science Alliance nights that create a safe place for LGBTQ+ students in STEM.
All of these initiatives aim to support “the students and the community that is here and provide them with the resources and the space,” Harish says.
When asked if there were any plans in progress yet for their next birthday that marks a decade, Harish said excitedly, “It’ll probably be something big. It’ll be big, that’s all I can say.”