Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor

The newly renovated LGBT Resource Center includes new seating and a cozy environment.

September 30, 2021

Renovation Gives LGBT Resource Center New Ways to Build Community

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After the completion of renovations in summer 2019 and the reopening of campus this year, Cornell’s LGBT Resource Center is providing students with new resources and more modern amenities. 

The center serves all LGBTQ+ students. According to its website, its mission is to provide LGBTQ+ students with opportunities for advocacy, education and connection. It emphasizes the importance of allowing students to be their authentic selves.

Located on the third floor of 626 Thurston, the center boasts a new lounge and a multipurpose room that students and organizations can use for studying, socializing and hosting events.

According to Crissi Dalfonzo, interim director of the resource center, the renovations finished shortly before the campus closed because of the pandemic. 

“This fall is really a reemergence of being able to bring folks back into the space,” she said. 

Dalfonzo said that the center formerly featured a lounge and a library with a collection of books on LGBTQ+ history. However, she and then-Director Christopher Lujan decided to modernize the space by restructuring it into a lounge, noting that few students used the print library for research.

The new multipurpose room, according to Dalfonzo, paved the way for the center’s events to be hosted within the space itself.

“It used to be that we needed to do a lot more programming in other areas of the building — or even campus — because we didn’t have a lot of gathering areas in our center,” Dalfonzo said, “and with the shift from the library to the lounge and adding the multipurpose room, we have a lot more space for folks to be able to congregate and be in the center itself.”

The resource center is equipped with study spaces such as the one pictured where students can do work surrounded by company. (Julia Nagel/Sun Assistant Photography Editor)

Kadeem Whyte ’22, a 626 Thurston intern, said that these changes brightened up the space.

“It’s definitely a lot more lively,” Whyte said. “I think it’s a more inviting space. I’ve definitely told a lot of my friends, ‘You should go study there.’”

A Haven executive board member and frequent visitor to the center, who requested to remain anonymous because of privacy concerns, said that they enjoyed having a space to interact with others with shared identities. They stated that they can always find students to do work with or share conversations about identity.

“It’s really nice to have lounge space for LGBT students to just hang out,” they said.

Several upcoming events, including an LGBTQ+ campus tour and a “Growthshops” discussion series, will take place at the center this semester. 

According to Dalfonzo, the renovations have allowed facilitators to foster a sense of togetherness among students. They have observed more visitors than even before the pandemic, which Dalfonzo attributed to 18 months of relative isolation within the student body.

“It can be far more attractive to come and study in the resource center where you’re potentially going to be surrounded by other folks than studying alone in your room,” Dalfonzo said.