Staff member earns Kalamazoo-area LGBT award

contact: Jeanne Baron
| WMU News
Photo of Jen .


KALAMAZOO—For the second consecutive year, a Western Michigan University employee has received the Kuseske Education Award from the Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center.

Jen Hsu, coordinator of Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay and Transgender Student Services, received the award Dec. 15 during the resource center's Winter Gala. Hsu was among seven individuals and one organization presented with the center's six Retail, Education, Ally, Community, and Humanitarian and Faith, or REACH Awards.

In 2011, Dr. Cathryn Bailey, WMU associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of gender and women's studies, received the Kuseske Education Award under the REACH Awards program.

In winning that award this year, Hsu was praised on and off campus for invigorating WMU's LBGT Student Services office since being named its coordinator this past April.

"Jen has brought the Office of LBGT Student Services to new heights," the resource center said in announcing her selection. "Building on the foundation of those before her, she has been able to provide extraordinary programming and community collaboration through her role."

Hsu was specifically cited for helping to create a number of new programs this fall, including the First-Year Pride Alliance that aids first-year LGBT and ally students at WMU in making a successful transition to campus life and the Student Advisory Council that reviews University policies and programs affecting LGBT inclusion.

She also worked with local businesses to organize the first LBGT and ally Diversity Career Fair, which sought to prepare area college students for success after graduation, and collaborated with community organizations to co-sponsor a Fall Fab Fest. The fest welcomed more than 300 Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and WMU students to town for the new school year.

More recently, Hsu worked with local campus faith leaders to organize the Campaign for Love. The initiative asks students to pledge to help create faith communities that are welcoming of the LGBT community and to speak from love, instead of hate.

About LBGT Student Services

LBGT Student Services promotes a campus climate that affirms and supports the academic and personal development of students, as well as their partners and allies, who face discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. It also offers educational programs to the campus community and collaborates with on- and off-campus organizations to provide students with access to healthy resources, activities and support services.

About the resource center and Kuseske award

The Kalamazoo Gay Lesbian Resource Center has roots dating back to 1987. It supports the LBGT and ally community in southwest Michigan and creates a bridge of understanding among all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Kuseske Education Award is named in honor of the late educator Terry Kuseske, a political and gay-rights activist who was elected Kalamazoo's first openly gay city councilman in 2009 and died of pancreatic cancer in 2010.