Promoting a safe space for LBGTQA students at UVM


Katie Brobst, Assistant Life Editor

With the start of a new year, UVM’s LGBTQA Center readied itself to welcome new members the UVM queer community.

Since its formation in 1999, the LGBTQA Center, located in the Allen House on Main Street, has been responsible for a lot of the University’s queer accommodations.

“UVM is often known as one of the top LGBTQ friendly schools,” said Becky Swen, the Center’s education and outreach director. “We were the first university to use the banner system which allows students to put preferred names and pronouns on class rosters, cat cards, etc. and I think that draws a lot of folks to campus.”

While the Center at UVM is small– it has only three full-time employees and a few student workers– it has a huge impact.

“I’ve worked at our welcome back barbecue and admitted student visit days for four years, and I’ve seen the number of people who attend those introductory events exponentially increase,” said senior Charlotte Gliserman, one of the center’s student employees.

The center has become such a hub for incoming students that its small size is becoming noticeable, she said.


“We can’t fit all of the students who want to be at our admitted student visits in our student lounge right now,” Gliserman said. “It’s clear that UVM has things people want in their lives and we need to make sure that we give that to them.”

According to Swen, last year’s welcome back barbecue had over 200 students in attendance, most of them new students and first-years who wanted to meet the queer community.

The LGBTQA Center hosts a variety of social, fun, educational and community-building events.

“I think what we really need to put attention towards is fulfilling the needs of the more marginalized portions of the LGBTQ+ community on campus,” Gliserman said. “There’s a lot of food insecurity in our community, and there are a lot of issues with finding housing where people feel safe.”

Gliserman believes that a focus needs to be given to making queer people of color feel at home on UVM’s predominantly white campus, she said.


“They are just as important as anyone else,” Gliserman said.

The center held its welcome back barbecue for the community Saturday. The Allen House will host the first monthly crockpot dinner, a home-cooked meal open to anyone, at 5 p.m. Wednesday.