Boston University to Open New LGBTQIA+ Student Resource Center
Will be housed in 808 Commonwealth Ave., near the Howard Thurman Center
Following months of preparation, and years of student advocacy, Boston University will soon be opening a professionally staffed campus resource center for LGBTQIA+ students.
The news was announced Thursday in a joint memo sent to the BU community from Jean Morrison, University provost and chief academic officer, and President Robert A. Brown. The center is expected to open at the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year.
“This is an exciting time for our campus community,” says Morrison, who worked with Brown, the Dean of Students office, BU Student Government, and student groups to bring the center to life.
“Our ability to create spaces where students can feel a sense of belonging, build connection, and enjoy new opportunities for engagement and reflection is central to both our mission and our strategic planning,” Morrison says. “This effort is the culmination of countless hours of conversation around our community and an important step toward our creating a more inclusive and welcoming BU for our LGBTQIA+ students.”
The center, tentatively named the LGBTQIA+ Student Resource Center, will be housed on the second floor of 808 Commonwealth Avenue, near existing spaces like the Howard Thurman Center for Common Ground and the LGBTQIA+ Center for Faculty & Staff.
The news follows years of student advocacy for such an office on campus. Creating a professionally staffed resource center for students was one of the main recommendations from a report compiled by the LGBTQIA+ Student Taskforce, a student- and alumni-led coalition dedicated to making BU more inclusive for LGBTQIA+ students. Among the Taskforce’s other recommendations: offering more gender-affirming care at Student Health Services, creating more gender-neutral bathrooms across BU’s campuses, and investing in and promoting LGBTQIA+ scholarship.
“The effort of the LGBTQIA+ Student Taskforce to make the case for establishing the center is inspiring,” Brown says. “I have no doubt that this new resource will make Boston University more welcoming for an important portion of our student body. Placing the center adjacent to the Howard Thurman Center will leverage our substantial investment in community space.”
“To say I am incredibly excited to see a resource center for LGBTQIA+ students become a reality is an understatement—after dedicating hundreds of hours to advocating for more resources, it is so heartwarming to know that LGBTQIA+ students are going to start receiving the support, visibility, and sense of belonging they deserve on an institutional level,” says Christa Rose (CAS’22), Taskforce cofounder and former president of the student organization Queer Activist Collective.
“The work that the Taskforce put into this has been nothing short of exceptional,” Hannah Dworkin (CAS’24), BU Student Government senate chair, says. “This new center is a manifestation of the power of student advocacy, and of just how impactful the student voice can be.”
The new center will serve as a community hub for LGBTQIA+ students at BU. It will offer optional training for BU community members, leadership and career workshops for LGBTQIA+ students, alumni outreach and mentorship opportunities, events, and more. Additionally, the center plans to host an archival library dedicated to LGBTQIA+ history.
“This center will be a place to explore queer ancestry, engage deeply with one another to find a sense of community, workshop opportunities to make society more inclusive at present, and build the scaffolding to improve the future,” says Jason Campbell-Foster, interim associate provost and dean of students. “We are a community that is deeply entrenched in American society, and ensuring students have a respect for that is going to be a vital part of what you can see from the center as well.”
The dean of students will oversee the center’s operations.
The search for a director and administrative staff will begin this spring. The BU community can expect more details about the center’s offerings once personnel are in place.
For the students who pushed to bring a center to fruition, this moment marks “legacy-leaving work,” Campbell-Foster says. “What an amazing legacy to leave something at Boston University that will be here forever and will continue to grow and serve students in a way that hasn’t been possible before.
“I want this center to be packed with students, and I want this community to feel more affirmed,” he continues. “That will all be made possible because of student leadership. That’s what I’m most proud of.”