Every Friday at noon, students gather on Zoom to discuss how gender and sexuality shape the world of film. It is one way the Gender and Sexuality Student Resource Center engages with students to foster connections and stave off feelings of loneliness.
“[It’s important to find] a good place where you can feel safe and feel like it’s a nice spot other than your home,” said Ely Vargas, a graphic design major who identifies as LGBTQ+. “It helps us realize we’re not alone in a way.”
The center, housed on Salt Lake Community College’s South City Campus, continued to adapt its usual in-person programming to fit the safety protocols in place for the COVID-19 pandemic. Peter Moosman, the resource coordinator for the GSSRC, spent the last year shifting the center’s programming to reach students who may no longer be coming to campus or finding support in face-to-face environments.
These services and activities serve a purpose by maintaining a connection with LGBTQ+ students who may feel isolated during these trying times. While not representative of the entire queer population, Vargas was one student willing to share their feelings from the previous year, and how the GSSRC and other resources on campus have helped him and can help others who may be experiencing the same.
“It’s been negatively impacting me,” Vargas said. “It’s hopeless and it just kinda led me to a depressive state.”
Through those feelings, Vargas continued to find comfort through the GSSRC from both the physical location and online events. When asked about what he did to help with the loneliness, Vargas said he liked to get up and get out of the house, staying away from electronics and the news for a while.
Vargas’ feelings are familiar to many and highlight the importance of having resources for students to make use of during difficult times.
According to Moosman, the GSSRC really got going in October of 2019, providing little time to get established before the onset of the pandemic. These efforts include Prism, a queer support group aimed at providing a safe space for queer students to be themselves, and Hit the G.A.S, a weekly discussion about gender and queer representation in media.
The center also puts on monthlong activities for Womxn’s Hertiage Month in March and queer history month in October.
Additionally, the GSSRC recently began reaching out to students who have what Moosman called “Zoom fatigue.” To help those who do not want to continue staring at a monitor, the center reopened March 1 for visits on campus, offering a communal space and a small library with social distancing and sanitation protocols enforced.
The center also began constructing and mailing craft kits for anyone who wanted to put them together at home.