Virginia Tech's office of Multicultural Programs and Services in the Division of Student Affairs has hired Catherine Cotrupi for the newly created role of coordinator for campus lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer relations and initiatives.

In this position, she will work to advance the university's LGBTQ efforts.

"We are delighted to have added Catherine to our staff,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Edward Spencer. “She has excellent background experience and insights which will help us as we reach out to our LGBTQ community and continue to foster a welcoming environment for all students, faculty, and staff."

Cotrupi, who recently completed her master's degree in sociology in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences at Virginia Tech, is already very active in working to improve campus LGBTQ relations. As a graduate student, she founded Queer Grads and Allies to address the needs of graduate students who identify as LGBTQ and their friends and family. 

She also interned at the LGBT Resource Center at the University of California, Riverside. While there, she took part in various campus and community training sessions regarding the LGBTQ community, helped facilitate new student orientation diversity activities, toured seven other LGBTQ resource centers in the region, and performed day-to-day operations at the center.

"LGBTQ-related issues and initiatives have been of significant interest to me since high school, and I am glad to be able to combine my backgrounds in community organizing, event planning, and sociology into this role," Cotrupi said. "I feel that I can bring those varied experiences into the role and hopefully provide a fresh outlook on some of the concerns that we deal with on a day-to-day basis being an underrepresented community at a major academic institution in Southwest Virginia."

The Campus Climate Index, a national assessment tool rating LGBTQ collegiate environments, currently gives Virginia Tech high marks in the areas of LGBTQ support and institutional commitment, student life, campus safety, and counseling and health. The university’s Safe Zone program, which serves as a support network for the campus LGBTQ community, is one example of the steps taken to create an accepting atmosphere for students.

However, Cotrupi said that additional attention could be focused on the areas of policy inclusion, academic life, housing, and recruitment and retention efforts.

"My hope is to gain and maintain a strong support base and to progress quickly in the areas of equality and acceptance for LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and community members,” Cotrupi said. “I welcome any partnerships across campus as well as within Blacksburg and the New River Valley to help us achieve these goals."

 

 

Written by Jennifer Gibson.