The Safer People Safer Places network seeks to create a safer and more inclusive environment for sexual and gender diversity. The network is a campus-wide program designed to raise visibility about the LGBTQ+ population, increase the understanding of issues facing LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff, and raise the awareness of the various LGBTQ+ resources available across Penn State.
The program offers a variety of workshops providing a foundation of knowledge needed to be an effective ally to the LGBTQ+ community at Penn State. Individuals who complete workshops can choose to display a Safer People Safer Places decal in their work area. Network members should be comfortable with LGBTQ+ individuals approaching them to talk about LGBTQ+ related issues, and be able to assist individuals in finding campus and/or local resources. Those who complete the foundations workshop will also be added to our Safer People Safer Places network listserv and be listed on our website as a network participant.
EMS Educational Equity office first to be named 'Safe Zone'
Educational Equity office was named a Safe Zone in 2016, the first office at Penn State to receive office-wide certification.
The office received the recognition after all of its staff completed the necessary Safe Zone training, which includes training sessions that provide the foundation necessary to become effective allies for LGBTQA students.
“Having everyone in our office complete the training allows us to signal that the entire space in our office is an inclusive, comfortable place for all students,” said Victoria Sanchez, associate dean for educational equity.
After completing the training sessions, each member of the office’s staff received an individual Safe Zone card to display, and the office earned a rainbow Safe Zone sign that is displayed near the office’s main door. The sign symbolizes inclusion and invites LGBTQA students into an accepting environment.
“Everybody has earned the right to be a part of the Penn State community,” said Sanchez, “and it is important that we make that clear. That means demonstrating inclusion, not just saying it.”
The EMS Diversity Council hopes to gain additional Safe Zone certification for other individuals and offices within the college.
“We want the College of EMS to be a safe haven for all,” said Martha Traverse, assistant to the associate dean of undergraduate education and member of the EMS Diversity Council. “A Safe Zone sign on the door signals to the LGBTQA student body, as well as faculty and staff, that a particular office is welcoming to everyone.”