First Safe Zone workshop trains 62 students

Justin Law

Over 60 students filled the tables in Carter Hall D for the Safe Zone workshop put together by SPECTRUM. 

The training was held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.

The workshop provided students with information regarding the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and how to be an effective ally.
“I think it went really well,” said Amy McKibban, assistant professor of psychology. “The students were receptive to the training and excited about it.”
McKibban, along with assistant professor of communications studies Stephanie Young, led the workshop by giving lectures that included topics such as sexual orientations, stereotypes and the qualities of an ally.
“Dr. Young and Dr. McKibban did a great job at organizing and have built a strong foundation for implementing Safe Zones on USI’s campus,” SPECTRUM president Jazmyn Gideon said.
The implementation of Safe Zones means there will be areas and people that become safe havens of sorts for any LGBT individual and ally.
To identify these individuals and areas, the attendees of the workshop received buttons with the Safe Zone symbol, a pink triangle inside a green circle)
“It’s just a positive benefit to humanity in general,” said Shayne Collier, attendee and resident assistant. “I’m really happy that this is being started.”
Attendees filled out surveys about the training at the end. McKibban said she hasn’t seen the responses yet, but verbal feedback she received was all positive.
“Even though I’m so open minded, I think today I became more open minded than ever,” Safe Zone attendee Claudia Peña said. “It’s something that really opens up your eyes.”
Due to much interest by faculty, McKibban said a workshop specifically for faculty is being put together for the spring.
“The whole idea for Safe Zone came from faculty interest,” McKibban said.
Saturday’s workshop was the first such workshop for USI. The plan is to continue providing workshops for as long as there is funding and a need.
Student Government Association funded Saturday’s workshop. It cost about $11 a person. That money paid for advertising, the manual, supplies, the reservation of Carter Hall and food.
A workshop for training community members has also been developed. The training will take place November 20 at McCollough Library. The workshop focuses on different topics to broaden the target audience. Tri-State Alliance is funding the workshop.
Academic Affairs will fund the faculty workshop taking place in the spring.
McKibban said she hopes in the future Safe Zone will be self-sustaining and self-running, able to train people and have an office dedicated to LGBT resources.
“If I had my way, in 20 years there wouldn’t even be a need for Safe Zone training,” McKibban said.
McKibban wants those looking for resources or information to not hesitate in contacting her or Young.