New Pride Center coordinator hopes to lead more inclusive campus

by Sarah Tanori, Senior Staff Writer

In the last year, the implementation of the Pride Center, located on the corner of Campanile Drive and Lindo Paseo, on campus has helped combat issues of exclusivity by holding events such as Ally Training, Queertillion and monthly HIV testing.

New to the space is Pride Center Coordinator Chris Lujan.

Recently having finished his master’s degree in educational counseling with an emphasis in family and school therapy at University of Laverne, Lujan did not see himself getting a job so quickly in a new city. However, it’s no coincidence he finds himself at the Pride Center today, considering his background working with LGBT youth displays his passion and experience working with this community.

During his years in graduate school, Lujan worked with homeless youth at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. He was instrumental in the process of creating programs for teenagers at this space to get more involved with higher education and tutored them to aid in the completion of their GED programs as well.

The interactions that Lujan had at the LGBT center inspired him to pursue work in higher education. His previous work involved counseling, advising and mentoring, but his passion lies in policy-making and behind-the-scenes work.

“Chris has a really strong background of working with the LGBTQ community and we are thrilled to have him on campus to support our students,” Women’s Resource Center Coordinator Jessica Nare said.

Being new to SDSU, Lujan is still getting a feel for the school, its community and its politics.

He looks to the student assistants at the center to guide him through what has been successful and what has not and how they can move forward to create a more queer-inclusive campus climate. 

“My job here on campus is the best of both worlds,” Lujan said. “I get to advance the queer community on SDSU’s campus, but also I get to have interactions with students out there. A lot of what I’m doing right now is looking, observing, participating — and once I kind of have a grasp of the events happening on campus, I can help start with the implementation process.”

As for his personal vision, Lujan is passionate about creating programs for marginalized groups at school.

One of the organizations that he is most excited to work with is Queer People of Color, a group on campus dedicated to supporting queer people of color and their experiences through the intersection of race and sexuality.

“I think a big part of my job is lending a voice to this community,” Lujan said. ”We’re located a bit far from everything else, and we need to be as present and as vocal as possible on main campus and (come) up with innovative ways to carry that out is super important in the success of the space.”