Collaboration from a number of Ferris State University’s main-campus groups has resulted in scheduling the first activities and securing staff for the university’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Others, or LGBTQ+ Resource Center.
The Center will be open each weekday in a section of the Center for Leadership, Activities and Career Services, or CLACS Office, in the University Center building on the Big Rapids campus. Kendree Berg, a 2013 Bachelor of Science graduate of Ferris’ Psychology program who also earned a Master of Social Work from the university’s College of Arts, Sciences and Education, in 2017, will serve as the LGBTQ+ Resource Center coordinator.
“I will be continuing as a therapist with Greater Michigan Gender Services, in Mount
Pleasant, but I am thrilled to have been working on campus since January, to prepare
the Center and make it available to students,” Berg said. “I will be reporting to
Kevin Carmody, the university’s associate dean of Student Life and Title IX coordinator.
He has been very involved in helping the center get established so we can open.”
The office of the dean of Student Life, Ferris’ Diversity and Inclusion Office and CLACS are among the campus groups who have supported the research and establishment of the Resource Center. Berg said following their open house, which is set for 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the next highlight will be opening the Center, following spring break, which runs March 3-11. Classes resume Monday, March 12.
“We have been working to identify, interview and select our student staff,” Berg said. “The planned Center hours will be from 10-a.m.-to-8-p.m. Monday through Thursday each week, with a 10-a.m.-to-6-p.m. schedule on Fridays. I will work a part-time schedule with a variety of daytime hours and two evenings each week, so I can be available to students with questions or concerns.”
The university’s Diversity Committee has stated the Center’s objective is to promote understanding, acceptance and visibility of the LGBTQ+ community by creating, educating, and advocating, and nurturing a healthier and compassionate environment for all. Berg, who was the president of the Diverse Sexuality and Gender Alliance, while a Ferris student, said she is excited to have the opportunity to offer counsel and plan programs to further the Center’s mission.
“I feel it is a huge honor to get a program like this off the ground,” Berg said. “To establish and open the Center has been a long time coming at Ferris. LGBTQ+ students did not have someone to go to, so to be their advocate will be a huge honor.”
Tours of the Center will be available during the open house on Feb. 28, along with the opportunity to meet Berg and other campus officials, with refreshments available. Anyone with a disability who wishes to attend the open house should contact Berg or the CLACS Office at (231) 591-2685 at least 72 hours prior to the event.
PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris alumna Kendree Berg, the coordinator for the university's LGBTQ+ Resource Center will serve in a part-time capacity, meeting with students and planning programs as the newly established center begins a weekday schedule following spring break. The Center is within the CLACS Center in the University Center building on campus.