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Bradley University opens new student support centers for women and LGBTQ+ students

Students attend the grand opening of the LGBTQ Kaleidoscope Center at Bradley University
Students attend the grand opening of the LGBTQ Kaleidoscope Center at Bradley University.

The Bradley University Office of Campus Culture and Climate is opening two new support centers for students.

The Women’s Center and the LGBTQ Kaleidoscope Center are both housed in the basement of the Michel Student Center on Bradley’s campus.

Charity Gunn, executive director of the Office of Campus Culture and Climate, said opening these support centers has been an important project for her office since she began at Bradley in September 2022.

“This has really been a very student-driven process,” Gunn said. “But we also have a phenomenal advisory committee that's built up of faculty, staff, and students and community partners to really help us kind of conceptualize what these spaces were.”

The Women’s Center provides resources such as pregnancy care, menstrual products, Title IX information, a lactation room, and more. The LGBTQ Kaleidoscope Center works in connection with community organizations such as Central Illinois Friends and Peoria Proud to provide a variety of supports to students.

Gunn said the centers will help students build community both on and off campus.

“I think that we've done a really great job of prioritizing diversity, equity and inclusion. But these centers are really, really a testament to that commitment,” she said.

Students attend the grand opening of the Women's Center at Bradley University
Students attend the grand opening of the Women's Center at Bradley University

Both support centers are student-staffed and operated.

Sophomore entrepreneurship major Mackenzie Washington-Myers is a student staff member at the Women’s Center, the development of which has been a “labor of love.”

“I'm most looking forward to just helping women, just being a student and just helping them be themselves and just make them feel safe,” she said, “Like I want every woman to come into the center, look at us and just feel safe and feel comfortable to talk to us about any and everything that they need.”

Washington-Myers said the center is available to reserve after hours, and students have the opportunity to visit during game nights or other hosted events.

Liliana Castro, a sophomore graphic design and Spanish double major, is a student staff member at the LGBTQ Kaleidoscope Center. She said the centers will provide a much easier way to seek support for students who don’t know where to start.

“I'm excited for them to finally have a place on campus to finally go to find resources because it can be a little bit daunting having to do all that research on your own. And we'll have those things here for students to just come and ask and we'll have that ready for them,” Castro said.

As campus Intercultural Ambassadors, Castro and Washington-Myers will help run the centers during their designated hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday,and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday.

Isabela Nieto is a student reporting intern at WCBU. Isabela is also a student at Bradley University in Peoria.