There are many new and exciting initiatives for Equity and Inclusive Communities (EIC) this year. In August 2019, EIC revealed a new departmental name and website to the Carleton community.
And now, please meet the co-ordinator of the Carleton University Safer Space Program (CUSSP), Mathew Kent:
Tell us about yourself!
I’d like to start by saying that I go by any pronouns, meaning that people can refer to me using he/him/his, they/them/theirs, she/her/hers, and so on. I’ve been an active member of the Carleton community for a little more than six years. I graduated from the Neuroscience and Mental Health Honours program in 2017 and am currently working towards my master’s in Neuroscience, for which I am researching the physiological mechanisms underlying the social determinants of mental health.
Not only have I been a student at Carleton, but I also held various student positions in the Department of Housing and Residence Life Services during my undergrad – I was a Residence Fellow, a Residence Bounce Back Facilitator, and the very first Wellness Programs Ambassador for the Residence Counselling Office.
As a graduate student, I’ve been more focused on my roles as a teaching and research assistant, but I have been employed as a Peer Support Worker at the Youth Services Bureau, where I work on projects relating to LGBTQ2S+ youth homelessness.
Tell us about the role of the safer space coordinator. How can you help students?
In October 2019, I started this part-time position with EIC. In this role, my primary duty is to oversee the Carleton University Safer Space Program, which is an important university-wide initiative to reduce the impact of homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism on campus and increase the visibility of supportive people and positive spaces for the LGBTQ2S+ community on campus.
I do this through facilitating CUSSP training workshops, which serve as an introduction to LGBTQ2S+ issues and allyship for members of the Carleton community. Through these workshops, I’m able to help students, faculty, and staff better understand the LGBTQ2S+ community, the challenges we face, and begin exploring practical ways they can be an ally to the LGBTQ2S+ community on campus.
What would you like to accomplish while in this role?
I have a few goals for myself while in this role, some of which I’ve already accomplished or am well on my way towards accomplishing. So far, I’ve revamped the CUSSP training by updating the content and adding some more interactive elements.
I’ve also started facilitating training sessions for various departments across campus. Overall, I hope this program will help LGBTQ2S+ folks not only feel safer on campus, but also welcomed and as though they belong!
Is there training available for students? How may clubs and societies access CUSSP training?
If a group of individuals, such as a department, class, or student club, would like to hold a training session for its members, it’s best they contact me directly to set up a personalized training session.
If individual students are interested in CUSSP training, I’d recommend that they also contact me directly to see if there are any upcoming training workshops that they can attend.
The best way to contact me is through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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