New LGBTQ+ Student Lounge Open in Viking Union
LGBTQ+ Western has opened a new LGBTQ+ lounge for students in Viking Union 722 in the Multicultural Center.
The lounge opened on Wednesday, April 5 as a space for students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community to feel comfortable in their identities and have a place to relax, meet other students, and study. The lounge is open during regular Viking Union hours, and all students are welcome to visit.
LGBTQ+ Western was established to support and celebrate Western students, faculty and staff that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community by providing resources, advocacy, guidance, celebration and more.
JoeHahn, director of LGBTQ+ Western, said that the space previously belonged to the Disability Outreach Center, which is now located in the Disability Access Center in Wilson Library.
“When I started in August, I thought that we definitely needed some type of lounge space and it’s great that the new area is a part of the Multicultural Center as well,” JoeHahn said. “We really needed a space where LGBTQ students could feel like they are comfortable and safe.”
There is no doubt the lounge has already been a success in providing students a welcoming space to study, relax and socialize on campus. According to Western student Rae Osborne, the space has already been a positive place for them.
“I am so excited to have a dedicated space for LGBTQ+ students, and I love that it has been designed by students, for students,” Osborne said.
JoeHahn highlighted how LGBTQ+ Western hopes to provide resources not only to students, but also to members of the off-campus community such as Western alumni, potential students, community members and more.
“We are collaborating with different organizations such as the Bellingham Queer Collective, which is a newly formed group that hopes to create a LGBTQ center in downtown Bellingham,” JoeHahn said. “We want to make sure that everywhere in Bellingham and Whatcom County is welcoming, and that students don’t feel like they have to remove part of themselves when they leave the campus boundaries.”
JoeHahn is excited for the future of the new student lounge and for the space to potentially serve as a gateway to bring awareness to other resources that LGBTQ+ Western offers, such as the free clothing closet in the LGBTQ+ student staff office next door to the lounge in Viking Union 723, a variety of workshops and meetings, celebration nights and more.
“We find that a lot of our students come to LGBTQ+ Western because of lived experiences they’ve had, and there’s this worry of like, am I the only one?” JoeHahn said. “Being able to come here and say OK, I am not the only one, I have other people who have my identity here. And I’m still exploring my identity, and I can talk to people and figure it out together.”
For more information on the new student lounge and LGBTQ+ Western, email JoeHahn at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For a full list of events and services from LGBTQ+ Western please visit lgbtq.wwu.edu.