CSI receives 2015 LGBTQ Community Enrichment Award

CSI students, faculty, and staff proudly march at the annual Pride Parade in 2012.

The Staten Island LGBT Community Center will honor the College of Staten Island with its 2015 Community Enrichment Award. The award is in recognition of the College’s continued dedication and contributions to the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and /or Queer) community under the leadership of Presidents Tomás Morales and William Fritz, and in acknowledgment of their commitment to providing a welcoming atmosphere for LGBTQ faculty, staff, and students on campus.

CSI has a very active Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) that supports many social programs on campus. A recognized student group, GSA provides the opportunity for students to gain valuable leadership skills as well knowledge of how to plan events, work with a budget, and organize programs. The GSA has a long history of collaborative work with the Staten Island LGBT Community Center, which includes various workshops, programs, and special events.

In 2011, CSI reopened its LGBTQ Resource Center as part of the Office of Student Life. Dozens of LGBT and ally students utilize the space. Under the leadership of staff members Jeremiah Jurkiewicz and Carol Brower, the walk-in center includes a library and has been expanding its programming to include Safe Space training, an LGBTQ Convocation, and a Pride Camp.

In addition, CSI has hired many leading faculty members to teach queer studies. Over the last several years, the Women’s Studies program was renamed Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS) Studies, which is an interdisciplinary program that includes LGBTQ Studies. Students are able to earn a Bachelor’s degree in WGS Studies.

In 2013, LGBTQ faculty members Matt Brim and David Gerstner, spearheaded and hosted the inaugural CUNY-wide “Queer-CUNY Symposium” that led to many new initiatives that are now supported by the University Chancellor and the University Dean of Recruitment and Diversity.

Next year, CSI will be conducting an all-campus climate assessment that will look at various dimensions of the learning, working, and learning environment, which will include LGBTQ issues.

The College impacts more than just the campus and University, however. CSI students, faculty, and staff also participate in the annual Pride Parade hosted by the Center as well as volunteer at the Center and Center-sponsored events. Additionally, the Staten Island LGBT Community Center is a placement site for students within the Master’s in Social Work degree program and Master’s-degree Mental Health interns, and is also a location for students in the CUNY Service Corps.

In addition, CSI is proud to host the fourth annual Lavender Graduation Reception in 2015 with a program that celebrates the successes of LGBTQ students, and allows faculty, staff, allies, and alumni to recognize their achievement in attaining a degree at CSI.

The Staten Island LGBT Community Center’s Community Enrichment Award will be given to the College of Staten Island on Friday, June 19, 2015 at the Historic Old Bermuda Inn at its annual One Island One Pride Dinner Dance.

For more information about the event, please visit: www.pridecentersi.org/one-island-one-pride.

Past recipients of the Community Enrichment Award include the Unitarian Church of Staten Island and Staten Island University Hospital.

The Staten Island LGBT Community Center is a project of Community Health Action of Staten Island (CHASI), which is in the process of spinning off as the Pride Center of Staten Island, an independent non-profit that is a New York State and federally recognized 501(c)3 organization.