LGBTQ+ Students Have a Space of their Own on Campus

Covered in lavender colored walls and rainbow decorations, the Kaleidoscope Center, housed within the Michael Student Center, is a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus. Students can study in the area, have accessibility to resources and learn more about the queer community on campus.

In the fall semester of 2023, Sophomores Ellie Diggins and Liliana Castro both went in for an interview to serve as intercultural ambassadors in the Office of Campus, Culture and Climate. During their interview, faculty in the office suggested the idea of creating a safe space for queer students, so Diggins and Castro took it on as the ambassadors. 

Both students were passionate about the project as they were a part of LGBTQ+ spaces in high schools. “I was fortunate to go to a school where there were resources for queer students. When I came to Bradley and saw that there wasn’t a space and they asked me to help start one, I was excited,” said Castro, a Spanish and graphic design major.

The Kaleidoscope Center serves not just as a safe space for students, but to raise visibility of the queer community on campus, something that was previously lacking. Diggins, who’s studying UX design and psychology, noted that when she went to the activities fair her freshman year, she was disappointed there was only one organization targeted toward queer students. Now she’s happy to finally have a space to share with the community.

In partnership with Central Illinois Friends, the center offers information on where to get gender affirming care, STD testing, binding kits and more. They are currently in the process of booking clinic days on campus since not all students have access to transportation. The center is also working with the United Presbyterian Church to connect queer students seeking open religious communities.

Although the center is primarily for the LGBTQ+ community, all are welcome to use the space. “That’s why we named it the Kaleidoscope Center. The community is made up of all sorts of gender and sexual identities. Even if you go through that journey to find your identity, you’re welcome here,” said Diggins.

Both students hope to one day move from the Student Center and have a larger space for all minority groups to come together. “This is always going to be a spot for students to use whenever they need it. At the end of the day, we’re just glad to help people find their footing with their identity” stated Castro.

The Office of Campus Culture and Climate has a suggestion box in the space, inviting students to share their ideas.

You can reserve the space for student organization meetings and other group activities by contacting Office of Campus, Culture and Climate directors Janine Peacher and Charity Gunn. They hope to increase the hours with the help of more intercultural ambassadors in the future.

Adalia Yeung