OUTGrads looks to create safe haven for LGBT graduate students

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OUTGrads club members from left to right, Roneisha Frazier, Brian Garris, Corrie Keener and Ray Fisco.
Megan Lunsford | The Scribe
Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2015

Abbie Stillman
astillma@uccs.edu

A new club aims to embrace graduate students in the LGBT community.

OUTGrads, which looks to help create a safe environment for the LGBT community, was created this fall by Brian Garris.

“I wanted to create a group that targets the needs for a positive LGBT identity,” said Garris, senior student affairs in higher education major.

He said there was little support for the LGBT community when he transferred to UCCS last fall.

“I really wanted to get involved in the LGBT community just because that was a strong influence for me in my undergrad, just developing my identity and meeting other LGBT identified people,” Garris said.

Garris first sought out input from other LGBT students to ascertain if there was interest in the group. Once he found students interested and excited about the idea, he dived into the process of creating the club.

“I got in contact with the graduate student association just to help spread the word,” Garris said.

He said it is great to meet more LBGT people just to form social support you need in college because LGBT students are at risk of dropping out.

Since OUTGrads is a newer club on campus, there is still a plethora of basic club necessities to figure out.

Garris said they are starting to put together designated meetings times and places to figure out what will be part of the club.

“OUTGrads has received really good feedback thus far,” Garris said.

The club held an event, Night on the Town at the Underground, which involved going out on the town to socialize and have a good time off campus.

Their next event is Queereoke on Dec 1 at 7 p.m. in Clyde’s.

Garris said he thinks the event will be a good time and that the group is debating on whether to hand out prizes.

As of now, OUTGrads consists of 10 members. The club is working on advertising to increase that participation.

Corrie Keener, MBA graduate student and graduate assistant for clubs and organizations in Student Life and Leadership, has been part of OUTGrads since it began.

“I had already known Brian Garris when he started the club,” Keener said.

She attended Night on the Town at the Underground.

“It was a lot of fun,” she said.

Garris said there were about 15 participants in the event.

“We plan on kicking OUTGrads off next semester and we will plan on having regular meetings so keep an eye out for that,” Garris said.