Parents and Families

Staff at the Spectrum Center front desk

Want to know more about how the university creates space for students of various identities? This month, our ongoing feature Inclusive Campus focuses on The Spectrum Center, U-M’s LGBTQ resource center.

For many, college is a time when students experience tremendous growth and change in terms of beliefs, appearance, and/or identity. Our students will be exposed to new ideas, new people, and new ways of thinking about life, including thinking about gender and sexuality.

Your student may be beginning an exploration of these areas of their life . Or, your student may already hold an identity such as being lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer (LGBTQ). Others may be looking for ways to become allies to their LGBTQ peers on campus.

Whatever your student’s specific situation and needs, we encourage you to tell them about The Spectrum Center which provides student support and enrichment around sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Located in the Michigan Union, Spectrum serves as a studying, socializing, and resource space.

They also offer a wide variety of education, outreach, advocacy, and support programs for any student wishing to engage around gender and sexuality. At the core of the center’s mission is the goal that every student feels supported in their own unique experience and/or exploration.

Spectrum Center Director Will Sherry:

...We have time for everyone who comes here, no matter what they are seeking... We aim to be the first stop as connector between the people we serve and the campus and community resources they want or need. We strongly encourage all U-M students to stop by our office for assistance, to participate in our programming, or just to say hello. Connecting with The Spectrum Center can be great for locating  support, or can simply be a great way to find community on campus. We also welcome parents to connect with us to learn more about services for their students.

The Spectrum Center offers the following on how to support students in their explorations or identities related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Spectrum Center Assistant Director Ariana Bostian-Kentes:

If your student chooses to discuss gender and sexuality with you, the single biggest thing you can do is to strive to be open and simply listen and offer acknowledgement of what your student is telling you. As families, we sometimes want to jump in with our own opinions, guidance, judgement, or advice. But mostly what we find students are looking for from their families is a sense that they will be loved and accepted.

If you would like more information on the Spectrum Center, you or your student can:

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