This is National Center Awareness Day—a special occasion when we get to recognize all that LGBTQ Centers do for their communities. The OUTreach Center has been making a difference on campus for nearly five years. In that time, OUTreach has given students a place where they belong. It provides volunteer and leadership opportunities, a chance for understanding and visibility, and a place for community and pride.
On this inaugural Center Awareness Day, we celebrate all that OUTreach is and all that it can be. In a letter to Centers around the country, President Obama said, “Centers like yours help us become not only more accepting, but more equal as well.” And, this is true. The Center is helping to make our campus more accepting, more fair, and more equal.
But, there is a lot of work to do. And here is where you all come in. Just last month, Princeton Review ranked UT, Knoxville as the 14th most Unfriendly University for LGBT students. That needs to change. And we will change it together. I invite you to take a pledge to support OUTreach–To attend their programs, to promote their work, to advocate for full funding and support, and to donate, as you are able. Whether you are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual or an Ally, you have a role to play for OUTreach. Like I always say, Diversity is everybody’s everyday work.
Today is the kickoff of the OUTreach Center’s 5 for Five fundraising campaign. Our goal is to raise $77,500 by the end of Spring 2015 in celebration of OUTreach’s 5th anniversary. Now, how did we come up with $77,500? Well, it is 5000 supporters giving $5, 500 supporters giving $50, 5 supporters giving $500 and 5 supporters giving $5000. So, you see, there is a giving level for everyone. Earlier today I made a donation of $500 to the campaign. So, now we only need four more at that level. My hope is that we will surpass the goal demonstrating that there is a lot of support for the Center and the students it primarily serves.
I appreciate your support, Donna appreciates your support, but most importantly the students benefit from your support. With your help, I look forward to seeing UT on the most Friendly list in years to come.