You do not need to be part of the LGBTQ+ community to visit the Pride Center office, according to former student and new director Dani Zinn.
Zinn, who identifies as she/her/hers or they/them/theirs and as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, began working as the Pride Center director earlier this summer and plans to focus on what students want when it comes to the center.
“This year I am really pushing pronouns – why they are important, what they are and how to be more inclusive,” Zinn said.
Zinn has always considered Shippensburg to be her home as both of her parents graduated from Shippensburg High School. Zinn graduated from the Shippenburg University’s Counseling, College Student Personnel Program in May and decided she wanted to continue providing her services to campus.
Prior to Shippensburg, Zinn attended Penn State University, where she majored in psychology and minored in sociology.
“I wasn’t sure if higher ed was exactly what I wanted to do at the time but I knew I wanted to help people,” Zinn said.
A major piece of advice Zinn wants everyone to know is that they don’t need to have everything figured out when it comes to their sexuality and who they are. She recommended the Pride Center resource library which has books that go into detail about different identities as well as other information about the LGBTQ+ community.
Thinking back to her coming out experience, Zinn said she had been outed when she was 19 and has learned to accept herself for who she is.
“It was not always easy and it has definitely shaped who I am today and made me realize that I am resilient and can get through much more than I had thought at 19,” Zinn said.
Zinn plans to have many opportunities for different members of campus to visit the center, whether it be a student, staff or faculty member.
The center will provide a support group for students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community on Tuesdays from 6-7 p.m. There also will be a time for anybody to visit the center to eat lunch and hang out on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. First year students who identify with the LGBTQ+ community are invited to come to the center on Thursdays from 6-7 p.m.
The Pride Center will also hold monthly Safe Zone Trainings in Ceddia Union Building (CUB) in Room 119 on the fourth of every month from now until December from 3-4:30 p.m. This opportunity will be for all students, staff, administration and faculty members who want to come and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
All are invited to partake in the open sessions the center will be holding in an effort to receive feedback on how to make the center better and more efficient for students.
“The idea is that we will have a “What If…” board where anyone can write their ideas no matter how extreme and we can adapt and hopefully come up with new things to implement or create for the following semester,” Zinn said.
Zinn can be reached by visiting the Pride Center or her adjacent office in CUB 230. The center can be reached at 717-477-1291.
“I will have grad student interns this semester that will available in the Pride Center throughout the week and we are always looking for student volunteers,” Zinn said. “If a student is interested in volunteering a few hours a week to the Pride Center they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for a volunteer interest form.”