The LGBT Community Resources Center (LGBT-CRC) introduced a new program this year called Flourish, geared to help LGBT and questioning students maintain their mental and physical well-being.
Flourish is replacing the previous program in place for freshmen called Community Academic Support and Advising (CASA). CASA was focused on connecting students to academic resources, while Flourish will focus on wellness and making students aware of the counseling and health services available on campus.
The shift to wellness is a positive one in the view of the one of the two flourish mentors, a Stanford student who requested to remain unidentified because she isn’t out to her parents. She and her fellow mentor meet with the Flourish members for weekly lunches at the Fire Truck House.
“It really provides a safe space to talk, maybe about sexuality, maybe about transitioning to Stanford in general,” the mentor said.
She said that the Flourish program, and the LGBT-CRC in general, is meant to provide a place for any student to make friends and seek out support in a community that is accepting. The mentor, who participated in CASA her freshman year, said she found CASA and the LGBT-CRC to be a great environment for a questioning student.
“I came to CASA knowing that no one would ask me to identify in any certain way,” she said. “The biggest takeaway was having a group of friends that were supportive of whatever identity I accepted and just letting me explore that.”
While the community atmosphere will remain the same, the new focus on wellness and resilience will make the lunches Flourish holds much different from CASA.
“CASA had an academic focus, so during the weekly lunches we may have had academic directors come in and talk. [With the new program] maybe we’ll have a meditation workshop, or maybe we’ll have spoken word speakers come in, or it will be a creative expression day, just a different focus entirely,” the mentor said.
Flourish is restricted to freshmen and transfers fall quarter but will open up to upperclassmen in the winter and spring. The weekly meetings will also aim to help freshmen become familiar with other LGBT groups on campus.