Safe Zone training helps unite the campus

Kayla Hobbs

Numerous training have begun at Augustana College, to encourage community education on sensitive topics. On Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2022, the first session of the Safe Zone training took place in the Black Culture House. 

Safe Zone is a program to help make Augustana’s campus a safe and more affirming place for LGBTQ+ students, faculty, staff and administrators, according to Daisy Moran, assistant director of the office of student inclusion and diversity (OSID) and LGBTQ+ coordinator. The program was established by the women, gender and sexuality studies program. 

It is an eight hour training broken down into eight different one-hour sessions. Faculty and staff meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the Wilson Center, while students meet every first Thursday at the culture houses. They decided to have the eight different sessions because it would make the training more accessible due to the fact that not everyone can take up a whole day.

Some subject matters that Safe Zone have and will cover are “What is Safe Zone?,” “Myths & Assumptions about LGBTQ+ people ” and “LGBTQ+ Terminology.” 

“I enjoy connecting with people from all corners of campus,” Moran said. “Most times, we don’t get to interact with many other departments and offices.” 

The training can be helpful for certain situations where a person doesn’t know how to go about an issue that deals with sexuality on or outside of campus. 

“I have witnessed the impact of this training on day one with so many professors, staff and students,” Moran said. “They explain that they have had an example happen to them in class and they ask how to navigate.” 

There is a demand for this training on campus, according to Moran. There are 70 staff members and 12 Augustana students signed up for the training. Since COVID-19, this has been the first Safe Zone training which makes the demand much higher. 

“People are wanting to learn how to be more inclusive.” Moran said.

Senior Diego Andon attended the meetings. 

“I am getting the most out of the training by involving myself in the campus community like this,” Andon said. “I feel like the Safe Zone training is underrated because there are so many important skills that can help with whatever career path you choose.”

Safe Zone is working with the diversity, equity and inclusion department, and they email the campus about the free training. They ask people to register, so they can have an idea of how much material is needed for each session.

More information is also available on OSID’s social media accounts and in the Student Bulletin. 

“You are invited to participate in Safe Zone Training to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender and sexuality as well as examine prejudice, assumptions and privilege,” the Student Bulletin said.

The next training is on April 6, 2023. This training focuses on “Campus, Community & National Resources” in the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Culture (APIDA) House. 

“Safe Zone is for anyone on the journey of wanting to learn how to be more diverse, inclusive and equitable,” Moran said. “You don’t have to be an expert, though we welcome experts as well. Wherever you are in your journey, this training is for you.”