In the Palm of Your Hand
The new app can be used by prospective students, current students, parents, faculty and staff to find LGBTQ resources on campus.
ALBANY, N.Y. (Nov. 23, 2016) – A new mobile phone app at UAlbany puts campus LGBTQ resources into the palm of a student’s hand.
The mobile app was developed by student staff and interns working for the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC), part of the Office of Intercultural Student Engagement in Student Affairs.
Courtney D’Allaird, coordinator of the GSRC, said, “So far, we have not come across any other campuses or universities who have developed an app specifically for outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. We think the technology trends will favor more campuses moving in this direction, and we are proud to be among the first."
The app, which is available as a free download on Apple iOS and Android platforms, features 24 interactive components, each one chosen specifically to answer a new or prospective student’s common questions, to help transgender students navigate campus facilities and to provide more information about the UAlbany campus and surrounding community.
Unique features include:
• Access to a campus map featuring Safe Space trained faculty and staff by building, as well as gender inclusive restrooms across campus complete with pictures and walking directions.
• A social wall where students can create a log in and share pictures, video and status updates.
• Real-time updates from the GSRC news blog and social media accounts, including direct access to calendars that feature the center’s hours of operation and LGBTQ+ specific events happening across campus. Through the app you can add them right to your calendar.
• Identity-specific icons for students across the LGBTQ+ spectrum offering direct information and links of interest to students on campus with that identity or who are looking to further develop their own understanding.
• Intersectional resources for students with multiple identities who may benefit from specific information related to their unique experience on campus. These include queer and transgender students of color, those with different abilities or accessibility needs, LGBTQ+ athletes, and resources for students who experience sexual assault or violence.
• Starting in the Spring of 2017 the GSRC plans to offer digital chats directly with other students through the mobile application moderated by Queer Peer educators.
Key findings from the 2013 Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network study Out Online: The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth on the Internet, indicate that LGBTQ + students increasingly use online platforms to seek information. In addition, fear of stigma or negative treatment that comes with in-person interactions may drive this population to seek online answers first or through their immediate social connections.
The mobile app offers an opportunity for those who may be more tentative about in-person interactions by offering a digital chat platform and community contact on a student’s own time. It also allows students to receive real-time updates and information through push notifications.
Luiselle Lopez a senior and intern with GSRC, worked on the application last spring prior to graduating. It was tested by a group of student leaders in April. Lauren Blaauboer, a summer intern with GSRC, put on the final touches and explored additional functions. The final version was approved to launch in October.
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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.