Inside the QSCC
By: Ana-Maria Qarri
With everyone having a blast during MacPride Week, as a queer student I am among many who realize how lucky we are to attend a university where a service like the QSCC exists. The QSCC co-ordinator Jyssika Russell and its many execs work hard year-round to make the voice of the Queer students on campus heard. What most people don’t realize is that “The Centre” is more than just the centre, a room and small library on the second floor of MUSC. From Intramural teams to simply hanging out in the social space, it aims to provide accessibility to everyone who wants it. As I sit on one of the signature brown couches of the social space, I begin to wonder: Was the centre always this welcoming, this popular amongst students?
“The QSCC has definitely grown over the last few years. Diversity has increased, and there is much better representation of gender and sexual minorities,” Russell told me.
In the last few years, the number of volunteers the center trained has doubled – this year alone it trained 50 volunteers. In a successful effort to provide a safer space for LGBTQ+ students, the volunteer training changed this year, covering more topics and possible scenarios, making volunteers better equipped to serve the Mac community.
On average the centre is accessed by 50-60 people on a regular basis, and 500 people throughout the year. But perhaps the most obvious rise in popularity is the QSCC’s presence in social media; @MSU_QSCC on twitter and McMaster QSCC on Facebook are both active outlets that provide information on activities being hosted by the QSCC along with fun facts and ideas that promote their initiative for a safe space on campus.
One of the QSCC’s most popular side-project is its weekly “NEWCOMERS” gathering. “When I first became exec, there were maybe 4 or 5 people at these meetings,” Hillary Jones, a NEWCOMERS facilitator, told me. “Last year it was 10 or so, and this year it’s averaging around 20.”
Overall, the execs are pleased with the centre’s size and the representation it gets at McMaster. Russell sits on various committees to make sure the Queer voice is heard. She said of the QSCC: “We want to break down the barriers that make people feel like they cannot access the space.”