After long discussing creating a resource guide for current, incoming, and prospective Barnard and Columbia queer students, Everyone Allied Against Homophobia is spearheading the effort.
Although queer resources are available on campus, Anna Ziering, BC ’11 and EAAH vice president of communications, acknowledged that some students are uncomfortable about openly seeking out the resources Columbia and Barnard offer. In addition, unawareness regarding the existence of these resources might affect prospective students’ enrollment decisions. The guide seeks to define exactly which groups and offices on campus deal with queer issues and what resources are available for students.
Ziering said that the idea of the guide is one that has long been in the works but is now finally coming to fruition. The decision to compile the guide came about during a recent Queer Leadership Retreat, Ziering said, where there was “a lot of discussion ... about what the queer community on campus could do and what its needs are.”
While both Barnard and Columbia provide groups and outlets for the queer community, there are some significant differences between their respective offerings.
For instance, Columbia has more resources, though Barnard does house an array of queer groups. “Columbia sort of has more staff in the Office of Multicultural Affairs,” said Anna Steffens, BC ’10 and co-president of Q, Barnard’s queer organization. “At Barnard, we have queer resources certainly. We just have it more spread out and maybe a little less visible.”
“Most of the resources are based at Columbia, but they do all welcome Barnard students,” said Caitlyn Gillikin, BC ’11 and a member of queer organizations.
Taking all of these resources into consideration, the guide is still under construction. “Right now, it’s a two-step process,” Ziering said.
The beginning of the guide is slated to be ready by April and will include a compilation of resources on campus, such as Health Services, that deal with queer organizations. This part will be available to high school students with whom EAAH will hold a conference in April.
The second stage will take place over the summer and be ready for the New Student Orientation Program in late August. This section of the guide will feature Lea Robinson, Assistant Director of Multicultural Affairs, LGBT Programming and Advisement.
Ziering developed a survey that encompasses a list of all the information to be included in the guide. The list, sent to all queer campus groups, included information ranging from students’ favorite queer classes and groups to their favorite comedians, blogs, and TV shows.
Steffens said she hopes “to see an impact on incoming students and prospective students who might get access to the guide and be encouraged to come to Columbia.” Ziering echoed her sentiments, saying, “I guess I’m hoping it will prove a really valuable resource to anyone who gets it. We’re really trying to make the whole community connected and involved this year.”