HAVEN training offers safe places for SHSU LGBTQ community

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) training sessions known as HAVEN training was held Wednesday and will continue Thursday at SHSU for students, faculty and staff.

The Counseling Center and the Department of Resident Life are hosting the sessions. HAVEN is a national organization with a presence at several U.S. colleges. Even though each of these universities’ organizations isn’t necessarily called “HAVEN,” these organizations synonymously carry the same purpose.

The mission of the organization is to discuss LGBTQ equality, promote the awareness and understanding of their concerns, and present information as to how to become a helpful and effective ally to members of the LGBTQ community.

Maryam Ilahi, a staff psychologist at the SHSU Counseling Center, is one of the sponsors of SHSU’s branch of HAVEN, which she said has been active for several years now.”In schools and colleges, the term ‘safe-space’ is used to indicate that an educator does not tolerate anti-LGBT violence or harassment, but rather is open and accepting; thereby creating a safe space or a HAVEN for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and all students,” Ilahi said.SHSU HAVEN mission statement calls for inclusion of all students and that students should feel safe about their sexual orientation.

Ilahi said the training sessions provide LGBTQ information, available resources and discussions on LGBTQ topics and how it relates to the college culture.”There are HAVEN trainings on LGBT education, awareness and cultural sensitivity offered on college campuses to promote a safe, inclusive environment for all students regardless of sexual orientation,” Ilahi said.

After the sessions, Ilahi said participants are able to take what they learn out onto campus.”At the end of the HAVEN training, the participants are usually offered a HAVEN sticker which they can place in their office or on the outside of their door indicating to students that he educator or staff member has training, education, awareness and acceptance of LGBT students,” she said.Residence Hall director Shannon Reed said along with Ilahi and fellow residence hall director Jenna Wright, the trio has worked to change HAVEN over the last few years.

“We worked together to revamp and adapt the HAVEN Training from what it was years ago,” Reed said. “It has given us a fresh start with the program as we hope to continue to develop it over the next few years at SHSU û offering more advanced training sessions.”

Reed said HAVEN is a positive experience for both faculty and students.

“We encourage students, staff and faculty to attend,” Reed said. “HAVEN helps students, faculty and staff at SHSU through promoting awareness of the community as well as, providing the appropriate resources for those students who may be in need of some assistance as they come to college and begin to explore their identity.”

The student training session for Thursday will be from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., and the faculty and staff session will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both are held in the Lowman Student Center room 302. No pre-registration is necessary. Contact org_haven@shsu.edu for more information.

Leave a Reply