Dr. Adriana di Bartolo, the director of the Queer Resource Center (QRC) of the Claremont Colleges, is touring the consortium to hold weekly drop-in hours at a different campus every Thursday. Drop-in hours will offer students, staff and faculty of the Claremont Colleges confidential and informal counseling outside of Pomona College’s campus, where the QRC is physically located, for the first time.
Di Bartolo said that ever since she started holding drop-in hours during the 2010-2011 academic year, she has been observing student feedback to improve the service. She noticed that some students did not feel comfortable visiting the QRC.
“Some people would ask to meet me in other spaces outside of the QRC, either closer to their campus, off-campus … A connection with me could out them,” di Bartolo said. “This could be the scariest place to come if you’re questioning, if you don’t want to go to the only really visibly queer space at the Claremont Colleges.”
Di Bartolo added that the drop-in hours do not only serve students struggling with their sexual identities. Students who have a research paper about the LGBTQ community or students with interests in queer studies can also come in to talk.
Di Bartolo has so far held drop-in hours at three colleges. She began with Claremont Graduate University in its Office of Student Life and Diversity, Claremont McKenna College in the Dean of Students Office and, most recently, Harvey Mudd College Oct. 2 in the Dean of Students Office. Next, di Bartolo will visit Keck Graduate Institute in 535 East Conference Room, Pitzer College at its Gold Student Center and Pomona College in Wig Hall room 108.
“I think that the QRC does a great job in reaching out to students, staff and faculty across all the campuses,” Pomona College Vice President and Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum said. “It also is really useful for students on South Campus who might not get onto North Campus right away in their first year. So having office hours in South Campus seems like a great addition for us.”
Jonathan Contreras PO ’18 said that the new drop-in hours will benefit non-Pomona students who might find the center too far.
The QRC “definitely makes me feel a lot more supported on campus,” said Contreras, who identifies as queer. “I think there is a unique set of challenges that queer students face on any campus, so to have this type of resource specific to those needs is vital.”
Feldblum said that di Bartolo came up with the initial idea to have drop-in hours across the 7Cs. After discussing the idea in the 7C Student Deans Committee last year, the dean of students of each college assumed responsibility for advertising the new drop-in hours. Feldblum added that the QRC could be a model of how a 7C-shared service should reach out to students.
“Maybe we can learn from what the QRC is doing,” Feldblum said. “We have a number of shared services across the 7Cs where the office is located on one campus or in the central CUC location, and sometimes students will say ‘Oh, I don’t really think about that as my office,’ even though it is.”
Di Bartolo said that administrators have been enthusiastic about the program.
“They’re all about having me on their campuses; they’re so excited for this resource,” di Bartolo said. “So in a couple of the campuses, I’m actually in the dean’s offices.”
Drop-in hours will be held every Thursday from 3:30 to 5 p.m. and will continue for the rest of the year.