There is a new LGBTQ+ Center on the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo campus. Laura Sherwood was chosen in September to lead the center’s development and serves as the program coordinator. The purpose of the center is to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all regardless of identity or sexual orientation.
For the fall 2016 semester, the LGBTQ+ Center has been involved with many events around campus aimed at benefiting students and raising awareness. The center organized a showing of the film Kumu Hina, about a transgender Native Hawaiian kumu hula, and hosted Coming-Out Day, and most recently, World AIDS Day, which was held on the first of December at Campus Center.
The LGBTQ+ Center—which supports lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and questioning students and their allies—celebrated its grand opening in October. Around 50 community members were in attendance, and Sherwood was grateful for the support that the various students, university deans, faculty and staff provided throughout the day.
The center also held a book drive on the same day and received over 20 donations from various contributors, notably the English department.
“We’d like to get a little library going, so we’re always open to donations,” says Sherwood who aspires to make the center a go-to safe space for students.
On her inspiration to lead the UH Hilo LGBTQ+ Center, Sherwood says, “I feel very passionate about social justice issues. I’ve worked with a lot of adolescents transitioning and I’m highly involved in the LGBTQ community.”
For more on the new LGBTQ+ Center, read the full UH Hilo Stories article.
—A UH Hilo Stories article written by Lara Hughes, a public information intern in the Office of the Chancellor