The SOGI Project

The Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Project (SOGI) at the University at Albany

The Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Project (SOGI) is an initiative of the School of Social Welfare at the University at Albany. Formed in 2009, the SOGI Project’s goals are to:

  • Enhance the clinical skills of graduate students working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer individuals (LGBTQ) clients and their families, and
  • Develop educational and campus-wide access for students across disciplines who are interested in LGBTQ studies.

The SOGI Project is in the early stages of developing opportunities for specialized course work and seminars that would allow MSW students to focus on LGBTQ scholarship, social service development, and research within their larger generalist degree program. Additionally, SOGI works in collaboration with The Pride Center of the Capital Region's Center Support Program offering field placement opportunities for Advanced Standing and Second Year MSW students.



The following article is from the Office of Diversity, Equity and
Inclusion's newsletter DIVERSITY COUNTS
(Spring 2013 • Volume 1 • Number 1, page 11) See Bolded sentence below.

The School of Social Welfare’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) project is now in its fourth year. This project works to enhance the clinical skills of graduate students working with LGBTQ clients and their families by providing field placement in the Capital District Pride Center.

The University at Albany has made great strides in the past five years to better support Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) students on campus. Christine Bouchard, the Vice President for Student Success, remembers: “When I became Vice President in 2007, our campus took the LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index and received 2.5 stars out of 5. Right then I knew we had much work to do in order to better support our LGBTQ students.” Bouchard launched a small group that included University students and staff to begin identifying ways to better support LGBTQ students.

Web pages were built so that students could find LGBTQ friendly clubs, career information, housing support, community resources and helpful FAQ’s. Realizing some areas of the university posed a particular challenge for LGBTQ students, such as housing for transgender identified students and financial aid questions for those students who have come out and lost family support, LGBTQ friendly contacts were identified in those and many other offices across campus so that students would feel more comfortable accessing needed support services. A Safe Space Training program was inaugurated across campus to activate faculty, staff and students as advocates, knowledgeable of LGBTQ culture and support services.

Across the University, one department after another stepped up to offer support and within one year, the LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index was improved to 4 stars.

By spring 2009, the University celebrated its first-ever Lavender Graduation to honor LGBTQ and Allied graduates and alums for their contributions to the University culture. The graduation was spearheaded by the students themselves and has since become a UAlbany tradition. That same year, UAlbany established the first University-wide LGBT Advisory Committee and a Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC). This standing committee meets regularly to talk about campus climate and make recommendations to the Provost and Vice President for Student Success and provides a working guideline to help further improve life for LGBTQ students and inclusion across campus.

The Gender & Sexuality Resource Center has quickly become an integral part of our University community—packed full of students at all times of day and night—providing student employment, cross curricular internships, resources to research on LGBTQ topics and just an everyday safe space for students to hang out and be themselves. Last year, the Department of Residential Life establisihed a Gender Inclusive housing program, which allows students to choose their roommate without regard to sex. While this housing option is open to all students, it also provides an additional incentive for transgender and gender nonconforming students to seek out UAlbany as their learning and living environments.

Academic departments are involved and making their own inroads towards curriculum inclusion as well. The Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department offers an LGBT minor with an internship component and course offerings that span across curriculum. The School of Social Welfare’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI) project is now in its fourth year. This project works to enhance the clinical skills of graduate students working with LGBTQ clients and their families by providing field placement in the Capital District Pride Center. This spring, the School of Criminal Justice held a symposium on Justice and Multiculturalism which explored justice in its relation to gender, sexuality and violence.

The University’s efforts have drawn recognition to the campus. This past October, the Capital Region Pride Center presented the University with their highest honor, the Harvey Milk Award. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in a major U.S. city, was shot and killed in San Francisco because he was gay. He was a graduate of the Class of 1951 at UAlbany. Harvey’s story and photo has been featured across campus alongside many other trailblazing alums as part of the Reaching Higher Achieving Alumni Recognition Campaign. Milk’s contributions are an inspiration to students at UAlbany, and many LGBTQ students consider him a personal hero.

See Article:

This program is sponsored by The Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Project (SOGI) of the University at Albany School of Social Welfare, Albany Medical College's Department of Endocrinology and the Office of Continuing Medical Education, The Northeast Division NYS National Association of Social Workers, the Pride Center of the Capital Region, and The Empire Conference.


Archive of Past Events

For more information about SOGI or SOGI events:
518-462-6138, Box 12 (The Pride Center)

Please help support SOGI.