Century opens one of the few LGBTQ student centers on a 2-year campus

A safe place (Century College)

You may have seen several Minnesota colleges and universities make Campus Pride’s list of four-year campuses most friendly to LGBT students, but Century College in White Bear Lake has made its own mark as a two-year school.

Late last month, it opened what it called the state’s first LGBTQ center on a community college campus.

(Remember that LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer.)

Center Director Justin Martin, who is also the campus’ student involvement coordinator, said he thinks the center is also one of the few in the nation to exist on a two-year campus.

The center offers LGBTQ resources such as books and movies, as well as programming such as its Drag Night.  Its Resource Fair in April will bring more than a dozen LGBTQ organizations from Minnesota and Wisconsin to campus so students know what kinds of services are available to them.

Community colleges tend to be commuter schools where students don’t spend a lot of time. But Martin said Century has a growing campus life, and many students spend “quite a lot of time” there.

“They need a safe space” where they can feel comfortable and free from potential harassment, he said. “There aren’t too many in the northeast metro.”

Century’s Queer and Straight student group pushed for the center, Martin said, which was established in some student organization office space. So far the center has received about 150 visitors a week, he said.