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The Pride Centre reopens this week in a fresh space with a brand new makeover! The long-anticipated change has been in the works since earlier this year and, though students were still able to access Pride-related resources out of the room (Z211, second floor of Wyckham House), the space is now a warm, inviting, and functional space available to all MRU students to enjoy and use.
We talked to Tanya Ross, the Relationships, Identity and Sex Programmer (and Pride Centre curator) for SAMRU about the change and what students can expect from this newly improved centre.
What prompted the move to the new Pride Centre space?
Tanya Ross: The student voice! I’m convinced that the Pride Centre would still be status quo if it weren’t for student effort and dedication. SAMRU is fortunate enough to be surrounded by students who are dedicated to queer activism and advocacy. The new Pride Centre is a direct result of the student voice.
How did students contribute to the re-brand of the new centre?
TR: We wanted to engage students in the re-branding process whenever possible. Students contributed to this process by attending multiple focus groups* and were consulted when it came time to discuss moving the Pride Centre to its new space. Students also had the opportunity to participate in various centre-affiliated social media polls and contests.
*Read the focus group notes here.
How will this new centre be able to meet the needs of the MRU queer community?
TR: In an effort to address student need, the Pride Centre is now a more functional and accessible space. The Centre is equipped with full-time, knowledgeable staff and maintains regular hours, which fosters accountability and provides students with a more direct-service model.
We offer a variety of updated campus and community resources, referral services, free prophylactics, volunteer opportunities and most importantly, a space that feels inviting, supportive and community oriented.
What are you most excited about with the new centre?
TR: What am I not excited about?! I love the Centre’s new logo, our rainbow wall mural, the well-curated artwork, our selection of accessible seating and furniture, the breakout room, our updated resource library… It aesthetic AF!
What can we expect at the Grand Re-opening on October 17th?
TR: We wanted our Grand Re-Opening event to feel approachable and interactive, this is by no means a formal affair. Here’s what you can expect: speakers ranging from current MRU students to influential community members, Crave cupcakes, a photo booth, a paint bomb canvas… The goal is to create connections to both the space and each other.
What kind of programming can students expect out of the centre this semester/next semester/next year?
TR: We are currently in the process of re-creating all of our Centre’s programming from the ground up! This semester, our focus was to make the Pride Centre a functional and visible space, hence the Grand Re-Opening event among other things. Next semester we’d like to shift our focus to student engagement. We want to showcase our Centre’s mission and values through programs that connect to students on a more personal level. While we certainly have ideas in the works, student input is invaluable during the planning and development phase. We’ll gladly accept any and all feedback students are willing to provide!
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
TR: Drop by and see what the Pride Centre has to offer. Chat with our staff! Share your ideas for programs and events! Study, relax, converse! Remember, our main goal is to serve the students and that means you!
Join us on October 17th in the Pride Centre (Z211) and 2nd Floor Lounge of Wyckham House from 12 pm to 2 pm! Hope to see you there!