“You know, I’ve been at SFU for 5 years and have never been to Out on Campus before”

I hear something similar to this on a weekly basis, always followed by:

“Oh wow, this is such a cool place.”

Even though I’ve only been in this position for four months, a lot of staff and students who visit or work with us seem to be surprised about all we have to offer. Whether it’s how big and comfy the lounge is to the breadth of knowledge that the staff and volunteers have, Out on Campus seems to have a “hidden gem” quality at SFU. While I’m all for the fun and excitement of having people uncovering something new on their own, I’d much prefer everyone knows exactly who we are and what we do.

So, if you’re ready to fully get who we are and what we can offer you as a student or staff member, read on below – perhaps this will give you a nudge (or full-on shove) towards working with us this year.

1)   Inclusion is our middle name

OOC is a safe space – a concept that tends to be received differently by different people. From our Safer Spaces policy, here’s what I’m talking about when I say we are a safe space:

  • Everyone is welcome and included
  • Respect is to be shown to everyone
  • Inside the space, discriminatory, offensive, or disrespectful behaviour of any type is not tolerated

Pretty clear, right? And I’d say it’s something that’s pretty easy to agree on. Everyone should feel like they can come into our space and access our services without discrimination or judgement.

Yes, even allies are allowed, if you so wish. I’ve heard the feedback that people didn’t know if they were “allowed” to come into the space. Consider this an open invite. As long as you aren’t coming in and deliberately being disrespectful to people or the space, then you are more than welcome. Come ask questions, come get informed. We can work with you to make sure your spaces, events, and programs are inclusive to everyone. We are here to help!

2)   We’ve got the people for the job

What’s a space without people in it? OOC runs thanks to both volunteers and staff, so the knowledge and experience that is shared here comes from a diverse range of places. Since OOC’s services cover a lot of areas – peer support, education, event planning, volunteer management, and so on – the staff here are well-versed in what it means to be adaptable. That also means that we have the capacity to fit into the goals you have for your own departmental or club programs.

Take me, for instance (hi again). Not only was I an SFU student (2011 to 2015), but during that time I worked in the residence area and went on exchange. After graduating I worked at the University of Alberta. So, you are not only getting someone with experience and knowledge with the LGABTQ+ community, but also someone who knows what it’s like being an SFU student, a student services employee in a university, a resident, an exchange student, and a theater nerd (that’s a bonus fact).

3)   We have a pretty snazzy space

We have a lot of space and we use it well. At Out on Campus we have a full LGBATQ+ resource library, two couches, a big conference table, a microwave, and a full-window view of the Convocation Mall Fountain. It’s a space for you to come hang out, eat lunch, read a book, and talk with us about any support you need. We like to ensure that the space is welcoming to everyone, so we always accept suggestions on how to improve.

Bonus fact: our office is directly on the walk to Starbucks. So really, it’s as easy as stopping in for a few seconds just to see the space. Bringing coffee to share is always appreciated.

This is just a short peek into all that Out on Campus can offer you – and we just keep growing! We are here to offer our energy, expertise, and educational resources to you whenever you need it. So feel free to stop by, say hello, or join us at our events.

Has this post inspired you to learn more about us? To collaborate with us on an event or project? Email us at ooc2@sfss.ca.