The San José State University (SJSU) PRIDE Center was founded on September 22, 2008, initially as the LGBT Center, to cultivate an inclusive campus climate for LGBTQ+ students. The center supports student’s identity growth, leadership development, and cultivates a community to support the safety and well-being of all LGBTQ+ community members at SJSU. The PRIDE Center was initially located in Building BB on the South East side of campus across from the Campus Village residence halls. From there it had a brief stint in Hoover Hall, and a temporary location in a Modular Building B for a few years while the Student Union renovation project was being completed. The PRIDE Center is located in the Student Union and is led by the founding director Bonnie Sugiyama with the support from the Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) counselors Dr. Stephanie Preston (current); Tova Feldmanstern, LCSW; Dr. Angela Krumm; and many intern counselors and post-doctoral residents.
One of the larger efforts hosted by the center is the Peers in PRIDE or PIP mentoring program, developed by Dr. Angela Krumm, which connects incoming or continuing students with peer mentors who help them find a sense of community and belonging on campus and ease the transition to a large urban university. The program allows students an opportunity to connect with their peers and create new communities that they can rely upon.
Another initiative the center has successfully implemented is SJSU to Zero, through a grant from the county, which is an advocacy project mirroring the efforts of the county’s Getting to Zero campaign. SJSU to Zero focuses on reducing the rates of HIV transmission through promoting preventative actions like PrEP, and working to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV testing and diagnosis. The project (the first of its kind on SJSU’s campus) is spearheaded by Matthew Capprioni in partnership with Sugiyama. This advocacy-based effort works by providing spaces for students to discuss HIV openly, thus reducing stigma and removing barriers to testing and treatment.
Along with these two programs, the SJSU Pride Center also supports six student organizations which function on campus in different spaces, and help students feel a sense of community and visibility among their peers:
Estudiantes Latin@’s y el Provecto Arco Iris – A supportive, social and activist group open to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender queer, questioning, intersex, and ally (LGBTQQIA) Latin@s in the San Jose area.
Out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – a chapter of the national OSTEM society dedicated to educating and fostering leadership for LGBTQQIA communities in the STE(A)M fields.
Queer and Asian (Q&A) – Q&A originated in fall 2009 and is designed to encourage students to raise positive awareness of queer and pan-Asian communities at the SJSU campus.
Queers Thoughtfully Interrupting Prejudice (QTIP) – QTIP provides a safe space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allies an opportunity to come together in a supportive environment and discuss issues and concerns.
Urban PRIDE – Urban PRIDE is dedicated to dealing with and catering to the social and daily issues of urban GLBTQ individuals in the San Jose area through events, functions, and making our voices heard.
Trans Talk – Trans Talk is a group for transgender/genderqueer identified people and their active allies.
The center is also home to the LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff Association, who meet regularly to discuss issues facing LGBTQ+ members of the SJSU campus, as well as the larger San Jose community. LGBTQ+ FSA was formed in 1992 and is open to all SJSU faculty and staff interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender topics.
The center hosts regular events and meetups for LGBTQ+ students, and provides ample resources for services and education on their website. The annual Rainbow Graduation celebration is the pinnacle experience for students who have engaged with the community through the PRIDE Center. All participants are given rainbow tassels and former PIP mentors are given rainbow honor cords.
During the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, the center has made huge efforts to continue providing reliable support to students through hosting online meetups, and even hosting a virtual Rainbow Graduation ceremony in Spring of 2020.