K-State prides itself on its family-orientated atmosphere and welcoming nature. Many student organizations and campus centers work to make the university an inviting space for a diverse study body. One of these organizations is the LGBT Resource Center.
The award-winning center, which is aimed at providing awareness and support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students, is in its third year at K-State.
"The intent of the office is to provide our LGBT community on campus a physical space where they can feel safe and get into contact with the resources they may feel they need," said Brandon Haddock, the center’s student services coordinator and graduate student in geography.
Haddock was recently awarded the Campus Pride Voice and Action National Leadership Award for Advisers. The national LGBT organization Campus Pride gives the award to a leader who does outstanding work to support the LGBT community on a college campus.
As part of his application, Haddock wrote, "Three years ago, at K-State, there was not a single LGBT-themed course offered," according to the Campus Pride website. "Today we have courses on the coming out experience, intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality … In nearly every instance these courses have been enrolled to capacity and have become highly in demand by students in counseling services, education, sociology and psychology."
Haddock received his award in Las Vegas at a convention held March 3-7. He was nominated by Caleb Kueser, treasurer of LGBT and Allies and senior in public health nutrition.
"The resource center has been a very beneficial part of my life as it serves as the central hub for everything LGBT-related on campus and in the community," Kueser said. "The center works to make sure that all of our groups are taken care of and get a voice when needed. It’s a wonderful thing to have on our progressing campus."
The idea for a resource center at K-State first came up at a progressive dinner held by the LGBT & Allies organization several years ago. Some of the students and faculty discussed the need for a home base for all of the LGBT organizations and put their plans into action. The center opened in 2010.
"When any community has a physical presence somewhere, then it kind of says, ‘You know what — you’re valid; your feelings are valid; your identity is valid,’" Haddock said.
Since then, the program has grown.
“We really have developed as an office," Haddock said. "We have helped create an identity for our LGBT students, but also our staff and the greater community.”
Haddock encourages all interested students to come in and check out the center, but he knows it can be a difficult step to take.
"I think the hardest thing for a student to do is to walk through those doors," Haddock said.
The resource center provides information on financial aid, campus organizations, campus events and counseling. Campus organizations connected with the LGBT Resource Center include LGBT and Allies, Delta Lambda Phi, Gamma Rho Lambda, SafeZone and FIRE.
In addition to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students, the center also welcomes allies or any students who may have questions.
“We are here to represent the LGBT community, but it’s also for education," Haddock said. "Through LGBT education, people begin to understand more.”
Simone Dorsey, president of LGBT and Allies and senior in family studies and human services, said that K-State’s formal organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students are exceptional.
“K-State is the first campus in Kansas to have both a Delta Lambda Phi and Gamma Rho Lambda,” Dorsey said.
Delta Lambda Phi is a progressive fraternity for gay and bisexual men, individuals who identify as men and their allies. Gamma Rho Lambda is a progressive sorority for lesbian or bisexual women and their allies.
Dorsey credits the LGBT Resource Center for representing LGBT organizations on campus.
“The center acts as our voice on campus to the higher-ups like Dr. Bosco and Kirk Schulz," Dorsey said. “The center comes to our events and we go to theirs.”
The LGBT Resource Center also helps sponsor events like the K-State Drag Show and K-State Project Runway.
“We work closely with the student organizations," Haddock said. "They do a great job of helping us out with our events, and we do the same.”
The center also hosts many events throughout the year including a Welcome Back Barbecue, World Aids Awareness Day, National Coming Out Day and the Lavender Graduation event at the end of the spring semester.
Haddock said LGBT groups at K-State enjoy the support and involvement of faculty members.
“We have a good faculty staff group here on campus that does reach out to our students, that participates in panel discussions and helps organize events,” Haddock said.
The center has already made its mark on campus in its first three years, and Haddock wants it to keep growing.
“I want us to remain a viable part of campus life, and there’s many ways we can do that through activities and bringing speakers in, but I always want to make sure that our students retain a voice and an identity,” Haddock said.