Safe Zone is a group here at Western that strives to make everyone feel welcomed and included, no matter what gender, race, sexuality, or personal identification is. Safe Zone works to educate and train faculty, staff, and students to become allies for the LGBTQQIAA community as well as make Western Oregon University a more accepting and inclusive place for everyone.
Let the Celebration Begin!
On Wednesday April 30th, WOU Safe Zone celebrated its eighth birthday. The day was filled with events to celebrate the group’s birthday and the amazing Safe Zone community here at WOU. There were guest speakers, ally 2 training, and fundraisers. One of the guest speakers at the celebration, Ted DeChatelet, a theater professor at WOU, gave a speech on white male privilege, and also talked about how he came about the LGBTQ community. Another speaker talked about basic rights Oregon and marriage equality, and what was going on to get that on the ballot. To finish off the night there was a fundraiser held at the wine bar Crush. Amanda Valdez described the event, “We did birthday trivia, and we didn’t anticipate there being a playoff game that night, so they just ended up doing the trivia for a really small group and they just had fun doing it. Some of us sat back and talked about what is going on and caught up.” It was a perfect ending to the days events. Overall the celebration was a success and helped bring more light to WOU Safe Zone as well as more allies.
Student Support and Involvement
Amanda Valdez was one of the Safe Zone members who helped out with the recent birthday celebration. She is a senior at WOU and is an intern for Safe Zone. She got her start working with the group when a class section on diversity led her to volunteering and fundraising for Safe Zone. After her continued involvement and support, an intern position opened up and was an opportunity she could not turn down. Some of her work as an intern includes poster making, event planning, and working with Angie Barry, the head of the executive committee. Amanda finds working with Safe Zone to be a truly rewarding experience as well as inspirational, ” One of the really inspiring parts of Safe Zone is the amount of support we truly have on campus… Students, staff, and faculty actively participate.”
Praise for Safe Zone
Safe Zone was recently nominated for a Lambda award, and won an OTM of the month for their Transgender Day of Visibility.
Want to be a part of Safe Zone? Visit their website for more information on meetings, ally training, and Safe Zone activities.
“On or off campus, Safe Zone is here, training allys to be more inclusive and understanding of a culture that they may or may not identify with. The more people we can reach out to, the better.” –Amanda Valdez
By Katrina Penaflor