“A safe space for anyone in the community:” How students speaking out built the Pride Center

Taylor Bacon, News Contributor

Open for almost 20 years, the Pride Center has quickly become a well-known resource for students on campus. 

Originally, it was named the Queer Resource Center, but in 2004, the Diversity and Cultural Engagement Advisory Board voted for a new name: the Pride Center, a name would act as one that would reflect a positive connotation for all students and staff, as well as be more inclusive. The idea behind the name was that students already have school pride, and students wanted a space that had the same positive feel and pride for a different community at school. 

The need for a center like this began in 1999 when students first voiced their concerns, wanting a place where they could learn to express and discover themselves safely. 

In November of 2000, Student Involvement set aside a budget for such a place. Less than a year later, Student Involvement’s proposed budget for an independent Queer Resource Center was approved and in May of 2001, the Queer Resource Center was born. 

It was born, however, into a former closet in the Women’s Building. 

As it expanded and more students felt supported, and the overall Pride Center was backed by more folks, the realization for the need of a larger, more suitable environment was recognized. The ASOSU Senate created and approved a budget for this to happen. 

In October of 2004, the Pride Center was moved to 1553 SW A Ave near the International Living and Learning Community. With this, the newly named Pride Center opened up once again to the students of Oregon State University. This standalone building gave students a place on campus to come together and be a part of a larger community. 

Recently, the Pride Center was relocated to the first floor of the Student Experience Center, a central and vital part of campus, where many students have access to it. 

In 2006, the OSU itself was named one of the top LGBT campuses in the country by “The Advocacy College Guide for LGBT Students” and it is currently ranked within the top 20 LGBT+ friendly from Campus Pride’s LGBT+ Friendly Campus Climate Index. 

For many years, even throughout name and location changes, the Pride Center has hosted a slew of events for different causes and weeks, such as Queer History Month, Pride Week and National Coming Out Day.