Co-sponsoring with groups like Hillel, AASU, the athletics department and restaurants in Downtown Blacksburg can really help demonstrate that there are LGBTQ people everywhere, not just in the LGBTA,” she said.
The LGBT history month is just one example of the growing presence of the diverse community on campus. Part of that can be attributed Cotrupi, who joined the program two years ago and since has made it her goal to spread awareness on and off campus, as well as make it a more inviting place for LGBT students.
Last year, Cotrupi made it her mission to revamp the SafeZone program on campus, which helps to educate the Tech community on topics related to the LGBTQ community.
Safe Zones are members of the program who are committed to providing a more inclusive and accepting environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities, as well as their allies.
Part of the increasing awareness includes bringing LGBT panels to classrooms. Professors in a variety of classes can request to bring a group of LGBT students in front of their class to discuss their personal experiences of being “out” on campus.
Christine Kaestle, a human development associate professor, makes it a priority to have the panels come and speak to her class.
“Virginia Tech is very lucky to have an LGBTA group on campus that is dedicated to fostering positive interactions such as these panels,” she said. “I sincerely believe that these are the types of educational experiences that can change a student's life and I am so grateful to the generous panel participants for sharing their thoughts and experiences to make this happen."
Her students submit anonymous comments at the end of the panel, most of which are very positive.
“Your personal stories have really given me a greater perspective into the gay community ... I have a lot of respect for your openness and I appreciate it,” one student said.
Though National Coming Out Day was Oct. 11, the LGBT Alliance will host an event on Oct. 24 that will present coming out experiences from individuals, friends and allies in the Hokie community. The event will be held in the Graduate Life Center Auditorium and will begin at 8 p.m.
Students who want to get involved in the community can attend the weekly LGBT Alliance meetings, which occur every Thursday night. There are also ample opportunities to get involved and learn about different initiatives sponsored by the Multicultural Office and LGBT Alliance.