The Landing Touches DownNews Staff - Wed Oct 01, 2014
The Landing Grand Opening Wednesday, October 1 at 7:30 PM.
Location: Lower Level Students' Union Building, U of A North Campus.
The Landing is a new gender and sexual diversity student space at the University of Alberta Students' Union. The service offers support, education and advocacy for students of all genders and sexualities. The Landing promotes LGBTTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Two-Spirit, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual and more) awareness and events, as well as providing volunteer opportunities and a welcoming drop-in space.
"We'd been hearing from students that they wanted and needed a space where they felt supported and welcomed in their diverse identities," explained The Landing Program Manager Parker Leflar.
"We're so excited to be providing those support services in the form of drop-in hours, meetup groups, resources and referrals. The response we've seen from students and communities has been overwhelmingly positive."
A survey of 2,046 U of A students conducted by iSMSS in 2013 found that 5.2% of respondents fell within the gender minority category, and 16.7% of respondents were not heterosexual. Recognizing the need to support these student populations, and drawing on their experience as former executive members of OUTreach (the U of A's queer student social group), U of A students Linh Lu and Nicholas Diaz conducted independent research surveying 23 Canadian postsecondary institutions. This survey revealed a consensus that the needs of LGBTQ* persons warrant services specially addressing their needs. Through dialogue with Lu and Diaz, the U of A Students' Union recognized that they could play a key role in the creation of a dedicated student space for gender and sexual diversity. The SU has provided an office in the Students' Union Building and start-up funding for The Landing to launch a drop-in space and programming for the 2014/2015 academic year.
To truly be an inclusive university, it is crucial for our main campus to have a visible and accessible space for any student to receive support around gender and sexual identity. Having The Landing as a dedicated space lets new and existing students know unequivocally that this school is a safe and caring environment that accepts them as they are. The Landing works collaboratively with OUTreach and with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services (iSMSS), an academic and research institute within the Faculty of Education, to provide holistic gender and sexual diversity services to the U of A community.
GRAND OPENING DETAILS
Come help us set the year off! After a busy September, we want to celebrate with a party and get the word out about this exciting new service. Everyone welcome! Media, students, staff, faculty, alumni & community members of all genders & sexual orientations.
We'll have music, dancing, and food. The Landing itself will be open as a quiet chill space during the party with snacks, games, and chats. Come meet our volunteers, see the Landing, and help us celebrate our opening.
For further information, please contact:
External Communications and Media Advisor
University of Alberta Students' Union