LGBT Resource Center offers social justice training program

GVL / Sara Carte
Graduate Assistant of the LGBT Resource Center, Scott Burden, (right) talks with Grand Valley students on Sept. 29.

Sara Carte

GVL / Sara Carte Graduate Assistant of the LGBT Resource Center, Scott Burden, (right) talks with Grand Valley students on Sept. 29.

Taylor Fussman

The Change U: Social Justice Training Program will return to Grand Valley State University this fall to train students and faculty in how to deal with topics of social injustice.

The program, organized by the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, consists of two three-hour sessions each month throughout the year as well as a day-long justice assembly on understanding and addressing spiritual violence.

Each of these events provide participants with the training they need to analyze social justice issues and develop the skills necessary for engaging in community organizing.

In order to give GVSU students the greatest opportunity possible, Change U was developed six years ago as a free social justice program with the goal of connecting GVSU faculty, staff and students with members of the community and providing them with the necessary information to handle issues of social justice.

“The Change U: Social Justice Training Program uses a relational organizing model which promotes community building and learning from the lived experiences of all who participate,” said Colette Seugin-Beighly, director of the LGBT Resource Center. “The training consists of applied teaching and learning facilitated through large group presentations, small group discussions, skill building/sharing and group brainstorming.”

Each month, the program focuses on a different section of social justice to teach the students and community members. The upcoming meeting on Oct. 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Room 2215/2216 of the Kirkhof Center will address the topic of “Understanding and Practicing Intersectionality.” Participants will develop an understanding of the meaning and importance of intersectionality, or the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class and gender as they apply to an individual or group.

“The first session will focus on what the practice of intersectionality looks like and why it is so important,” said Scott Burden, a graduate assistant in the Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center.

Throughout the year, sessions will focus on topics such as U.S. social movements, systematic change, white supremacy and media as an organizing tool. This is evident in the program topics for the remainder of the year, including “Learning from U.S. Social Movements,” “Understanding and Resisting U.S. Imperialism” and “Organizing for Systematic Change.”

“Change U is an incredible opportunity to learn more about social justice and engage with other social justice advocates who desire to pursue justice,” Burden said. “Students are encouraged by the resource center to take advantage of the free opportunity provided to them.”

Information about the sessions is online at The other session dates of the 2015-16 fall semester are scheduled for Oct. 29, Nov. 11 and Nov. 19.

More information about the Change U: Social Justice Training Program, or any other programs sponsored by the LGBT Resource Center, is located at