HEROES, ETSU’s student-led LGBT organization, has received its own office space in the Student Organization Resource Center after several years of waiting.
The new office will feature a library with LGBT literature and offer a safe, enclosed space for individuals or groups to plan events.
“I have big dreams for this small space, and hopefully, we will grow from there,” said HEROES President Ben Schaller. “We are extremely thankful to the university for giving us this space.”
The office is small, but Schaller is hopeful to fill the shelves with awards and stock the book shelves with queer literature.
Schaller said so far they have received flags sporting different colors of the LGBT spectrum from the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Pride Center, who is happy to support the ETSU organization’s recent triumph.
“I would like to keep this space now and forever as a student-led and student run LGBTQIA+ resource center,” Schaller said. “That sounds like a big daunting task, but along with several other people working on this, we want to make the biggest impact possible before we leave.”
Schaller said the space will be used for planning events or one-on-one discussions with students who need to use the office.
“Sometimes just having a secluded space to be able to close a door can make the biggest difference,” Schaller said. “This space can be used for leaders to hold private office hours in order to listen — though we’re not counselors — to others on the spectrum like ourselves on things that we have felt before.”
During Tuesday’s Student Government Association meeting, Schaller made a presentation to the senate informing them on what the office space will offer to students and members of HEROES.
Emergency legislation was presented by Sen. Sydney Crowder and written by Sen. Nathan Farnor congratulating HEROES and ETSU on the new space. Ten senators sponsored the piece of legislation.
However, the legislation was tabled and voted on during the next meeting because the format was unconstitutional and deemed unfair for not being shared with some senators and not others before the meeting.
“Our office hours will be posted on our door in SORC A pretty soon, as well as upcoming events for LGBT-related things here on campus and in the community,” Schaller said. “Also, we are accepting any donations of office supplies as well as literature for students.”