By Erasmus Baxter
Being a freshman in a new environment can be a confusing and alienating experience. This is especially true for students who identify as LGBTQIA+. The Queer Resource Center’s annual Ice Cream Social hopes to address this by welcoming queer students and connecting them with the queer community on campus, as well as on-campus resources.
“It is important for incoming freshmen to be aware of these resources because then … they know there is a strong LGBTQIA+ community for them on campus that is accepting of their identity and orientation,” Josephene Butcher, the Queer Resource Center Coordinator, said.
The Ice Cream Social will be held in the Viking Union Multipurpose Room from 6-8 p.m. on September 22 and will feature Bellingham’s local Mallard’s Ice Cream.
“Mallard’s Ice Cream, which donates their delicious ice cream to this event … has gender neutral bathrooms which is good knowledge for incoming students,” Butcher said.
The Social will feature information about Queer resources on campus including the Queer Resource Center and on-campus clubs. There will also be button makers available for attendees to make their own buttons.
Butcher also sees the event as a way to strengthen connections and introduce students to the queer community on campus.
“The ice cream social is a fun way for incoming students and returners even, to talk with other LGBTQIA+ students and make friends to support them throughout their queer experience,” Butcher said. “Not only at Western but beyond that.”
According to its website the Queer Resource center “provides non-judgmental and unbiased programs, safe space, and resources to both students who identify as Queer and their allies.”
It does this by “reaching out and building community among Western students of diverse backgrounds, advocating for and educating about the Queer identity through events and resources, creating and affirming positive self-identities, networking with Queer clubs, providing peer counseling services, and addressing current issues relevant to the Queer community.”
Orgysnc also lists a Queer People of Color club and a Queer Writers Club.
WWU Queer Club meets every Tuesday in Bond Hall 217 from 7-9 p.m., according to their Orgysync profile. It offers “a safe place where queer youth can discover themselves, learn more about their community and also help build a larger more supportive queer environment on campus.” Those who want to reach the Queer Resource Center can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit them in the Viking Union.