Social Advocacy, Education, Health and Leadership: The History of the UW-Green Bay Pride Center

The UWGB Pride Center opened January 2012 to provide “safe space” for students who asked for a place to learn about their LGBT identity, and to get a break from campus stressors that made them feel not included. Stacie Christian, Ph.D., currently the Director of Inclusive Excellence and the Pride Center, was hired in the summer of 2012 to provide 10 hours a week to lead the Pride Center.

The Pride Center mission was changed from “safe space” to “Social advocacy, education, health and leadership” and many changes on the UWGB campus began to occur. Many changes occurred to increase the health and well being of students who are transgender and nonbinary. Students are now able to easily submit a form that quickly changes their legal names to the names they use on the  SIS, Outlook and D2L.  Students no longer had to fear what might happen while  purchasing food at the grill which then required their school ID to pick up food, or having their instructors “out them” in front of students during class.

Safe and Inclusive Living (SAIL) was implemented for the first time in 2014. Students were able to live in a community that was inclusive of LGBTQ+. These changes alone increased the safety and well being of a student population who previously were not thriving due to institutional and social stressors. The Pride Center has advocated for other change, including the training of over 7000 individuals in SAFE Ally courses, and the inclusion of trans supportive services in the Kress, and student affairs, and in classrooms. The Pride Institute was created, and currently brings in revenue from career development training provided for many Wisconsin organizations.

The Pride Center has been recognized by the National Pride Index as one of the “Top 25 LGBTQ+ Friendly Campuses” for over 4 years and is currently utilized by regional, national and even international contacts on a daily basis. This recognition has lead to La Force Foundation providing $15000 each year to provide financial support to pay for 6 of the 11 interns that assist the Pride Center to grow each year. At this time over 225 students  and many more employees and community members are provided services by the Pride Center. Stacie is now working full time for Inclusive Excellence and the Pride Center starting June 2019.The Pride Center is opening a second office at UW-Marinette fall 2019 which will be run part time by a graduate social work intern, and will seek to open offices on the Sheboygan and Manitowoc offices in the near future.

By Dr. Stacie Christian

Dr. Stacie Christian is the Director of Inclusive Excellence and the Pride Center at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, is a lecturer for the Psychology department, and is the lead for the UWGB Campus Cupboard. Dr. Christian is an undergraduate and graduate UWGB alumni. During her spare time she and her wife Julie purchase vintage and antiques to sell through their business J & S Vintage; gardens, swims, canoes, bikes and enjoys outdoor activities. Recently Dr. Christian and three other UWGB alumni started a non-profit organization with the goal to purchase a specific building located in Green Bay this summer, and then opening a large LGBTQ+ community center with broad services for all ages in January 2020.