8/30/2014

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WSU Giesorc Resource Center improving the lives of college students

WSU Giesorc Resource Center improving the lives of college students
PULLMAN, WA - Washington's first college LGBT Resource Center is celebrating its 20th anniversary, and the organization has grown quite a bit over the last couple decades.

Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains how the center's helped many students succeed in college.

In 1994, faculty, staff and student advocates created a supportive community for gay, lesbian and bisexual people at Washington State University. The organization is known as GIESORC.

"GIESORC is the Gender Identity-Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center," said Director Heidi Stanton Schnebly. "We call is GIESORC because obviously that's a mouthful for anyone to say. But it's a safe place for anyone to come on campus."

"It's a really open and accepting place to anybody who doesn't really feel welcome in the rest of campus," said WSU student Kathryn Nall.

"So we don't care how you identify," said Stanton Schnebly. "Everyone has a gender, everybody has a sexual orientation. So it doesn't matter if you're gay. Straight, lesbian, trans, bi, or if you don't know, or if you don't identify."

The resource center is on the fourth floor of the Compton Union Building, and it has a beautiful view of campus. But GIESORC didn't always enjoy this prime location.

"When we first started, it was just a small space, and it was kind of a scary place to find," said Stanton Schnebly.

GIESORC Director Heidi Stanton Schnebly said as acceptance of the LGBT community grew, so did the resource center.

"History is being made," said Stanton Schnebly. "There are so many strides for progress of inclusion just i the last decade."

And while new laws and policies aim to improve the lives of members of the LGBT community across the nation, GIESORC is improving the college experience for many students right here on the WSU campus.

"I've been coming up for four years, and it's kind of like a mini-family here," said WSU student Nathan Nakamoto. "If I didn't have some place like this, where I feel wanted and needed, I could come in whenever I wanted, I don't think I would have stayed in WSU. I would have probably gone back home."

In 2013, a nonprofit organization called "Campus Pride" ranked WSU as a top 25 LGBT friendly university.
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