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SAGA members

Incredibly Accepting

Senior Andrew Cenophat said the greatest gift Widener could have ever given him – or any LGBT student – is a safe space to truly express who he is as a person.

“I came into Widener not really knowing what I was going to get out of it and I found so much and I found so many ways to get involved because the LGBT presence was so prevalent on campus,” said Cenophat, a biology/pre-physical therapy major.

Cenophat, who also serves as president of the Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA), went as far to described Widener as “incredibly accepting.”

He recalled being stunned during his first semester on campus when the college lined the entranceway of the University Center with large rainbow flags in celebration of LGBT History Awareness Month.

“When I came to college I didn’t know I could be so open that I could put myself out there as much as I have the past three years, “said Cenophat.

“So my advice for upcoming freshman or anyone interested in Widener University is to take advantage of that opportunity because there are still so many places you can’t be or embrace who you are.”

Understanding the importance of diversity is one of the core values of a Widener education. In fact, the university was recently given a four-star rating from campuspride.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing safer learning environments for the LGBT community.

Widener has more than 150 faculty members trained as part of the Safe Space Ally program. LGBT students also have access to gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.

As a new student this fall, freshman Jake McNeel added that he received the greatest amount of support from his peers. The nursing major recalled how his first couple weeks on-campus were tough because he was having a hard time meeting new people, but that quickly changed.

“Once I went to SAGA I made friends instantly and then it expanded out from there,” he said.

McNeel was then asked to serve as treasurer of SAGA due to his experience as president of his LGBT club in high school. He was happy to accept the leadership position because SAGA serves such a vital role in supporting the LGBT community on campus. 

“I just want to make sure the support is always there for people when they need it,” McNeel said.