Nicole Eastman, new program coordinator for the University of Wisconsin-Stout LGBTQIA+ program, enjoys being able to advocate for and support students.
As a graduate student at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minn., where she earned a degree in college counseling and student development, Eastman worked at the LGBT Resource Center there and wanted to return to a career working with students.
Before coming to UW-Stout, her most recent job was at Minnesota State University, Mankato, as a program adviser and summer operations coordinator for Residential Life. Eastman earned her undergraduate degree at UW-Eau Claire in public relations and Spanish.
“UW-Stout has three established programs to build community with others, provide peer support and help students with college,” said Eastman, whose office is at the Qube in Merle M. Price Commons. The Qube is UW-Stout’s headquarters for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning/queer, intersex, asexual/aromantic and more students.
“The Qube educates both the campus and community about the LGBTQIA+ community and students,” Eastman said.
Students help teach Safe Space Training, an ally training to help students, faculty and staff of any sexual orientation or gender identify or to express better support and advocacy for LBGTQIA+ and answer questions. The training is designed to help participants learn how to identify and combat homophobia and heterosexism on campus and better familiarize them with the LGBTQIA+ community. Safe Space Training has been updated and expanded in the last semester.
Eastman, who started Jan. 2, is excited about students returning for the spring semester and programming for LGBTQIA+ students. Classes began Monday, Jan. 27.
Qube connections, open house
The Qube offers an Open Door on Mondays from 5 to 6:30 p.m. for all students to discuss issues affecting them. Afternoon T meets Wednesdays from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m., providing support for transgender or nonbinary students, and QTPOC (Queer/Trans People of Color) meets every couple of weeks to provide support for students of color who are queer or transgender.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, the Qube will host an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet staff members, see the new Qube space that opened last April and learn more about upcoming events there.
“The Qube is a great space right next to the Dining Center,” Eastman said. “It shows the investment and the importance and support UW-Stout has for our students. It’s extremely important there are spaces available that can provide specific resources for our students.”
The Qube offers large windows, new LED lighting and colorful furniture, and along the wall is the motto “be in, be out, belong.” About 900 students at UW-Stout identify as LGBTQIA+. There is a resource library for all who need information for class paper or projects or just want to increase their LBGTQIA+ knowledge.
“It shows the intent of the campus to show commitment to queer and other marginalized students,” said Grace Stolen, of Waunakee, a junior studying applied social science and a student leader at the Qube.
A Diversity Week Mixer is planned from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 28, with refreshments at the Qube.
The annual Qubies Gala is planned at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 26, in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center. The gala recognizes and celebrates individuals who advanced LGBTQIA+ inclusion and equality at UW-Stout and beyond over the past year. Tickets are required.
Rainbow graduation is from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, in room 110 of Jarvis Hall to recognize and honor LGBTQIA+ graduates.
The university offers a women and gender studies minor and certificate, along with the human development and family studies major and minor and a sex therapy certificate program, which is part of the master’s program in marriage and family therapy.
UW-Stout is Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, with a focus on applied learning, collaboration with business and industry, and career outcomes.