A New Space to Shine – Penn State’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity

Photo by @lgbt on Instagram

At the beginning of this semester, a brand new community center opened up on the lower level of the HUB-Robeson Center. The Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (previously called the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and located on the first floor of Boucke) is now open to students and members of the community.

Although the move is recent, the discussion for a new location started over 10 years ago. On Tuesday evening, center director Brian Patchcoski hosted an event with DiscernPSU called “Why I Do What I Do,” where he opened up about his role as director and touched on the big move.

“I’m excited, it’s a brand new blank canvas,” Patchcoski says. “The best part about this is everything here has been student-informed.”

Photo posted by @studentlifepsu on Instagram

The interior and exterior of the new space features different pieces of art and quotes. Patchcoski highlighted a particular quote from queer poet June Jordan, which reads, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.” Patchcoski feels that this quote embodies what the center’s message is.

“We should not be waiting for ourselves to get better, or to be better, or to be someone else. That’s what this space is for me…I think that’s the beauty of this new space, the beauty of who our community is and who we will be for generations to come.”

Completed by artist Tamara Gayer, the quote can be seen from both inside and outside of the center.

The new area contains different spaces for different purposes. Upon entering the center, one comes across a table with flyers, pride wristbands and free condoms. Throughout the space there are quiet study spaces to do homework, as well as open area for events and general lounging. Additionally, there are new offices for the faculty and student interns to work productively.

Photo posted by @pennstategeneq on Instagram

The center is located one floor up from the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, connected by an internal staircase — forming partnerships with other communities was a goal for the center. Patchcoski highlighted the constant fight for representation and equality for many different marginalized groups, saying his work is not yet over.

“Thinking of everything that has come to be here, the artwork, Tamara’s real, true listening to students, the architects and watching them grow and their understanding of what the communities’ need, the core location with the [Paul Robeson Cultural Center], I don’t think we’re done. What about all of the other identities and things around the student experience we’re still missing?”

Nevertheless, the welcoming atmosphere of the center is open to everyone, regardless of identity. Not only does the center provide educational, social and supportive programming (like CAPS Chat and free HIV testing), but it also will host workshops and provide individual support; there truly is an opportunity for everyone to grow at the new center.

I think the really great part about our name change and our shift in location, is yes, we are now in the central hub of the student experience. Queer, in the essence, is really…we are all odd and strange, and if you can’t find a space in another space, you are welcome here.

Located at LL011 HUB-Robeson Building, the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity is open Monday to Friday 8am-5pm, with late night events on Wednesdays until 8pm. You can reach Brian Patchcoski at bjp226@psu.edu.

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