Speed Spectrum Receives Two Awards

April 18, 2017

2017 RSO of the Year2017 RSO Advisor of the YearThe Speed Spectrum recently received two awards, one for Outstanding New Student Organization 2016-17 with less than 500 Members, and another recognizing Academic Counselor Natalie Oliner as 2016-2017 Advisor of the Year Award for an RSO.

The burgeoning organization was only recently started, thanks in parts to the duel efforts of Oliner and Speed Spectrum President Celeste Atchison. Starting in 2014, Oliner recognized the lack of an LGBT Center on the Speed Campus and alongside Director of Student Success Heidi Neal, former Speed School Dean Dr. Neville Pinto, and the existing university wide LGBT Center.

“We wanted to create a safe space, and also to get students to step in if they hear that sort of thing, to stop that kind of harassment. We opened the safe space, which is the Speed Spectrum office. We opened that. That official opening was in the fall of 2016,” says Oliner.

A Georgia native of Jewish heritage, Oliner developed a correlation between religion and sexuality, characteristics that engender an otherness between individuals. “I’ve always been interested in Diversity initiatives. I double majored with sociology and focused on sexual diversity and different identities and practices. I identify as part of the community as well,” says Oliner adding, “Coming out of grad school, I was focused on disability and LGBT groups. I acknowledge that not every group is still being heard. Also, because we already have the LGBT center. We’re not reinventing the wheel, just extending it.”

Atchison is proud of her work with the Speed Spectrum and encouraged by the positive recognition they’ve received. “I was really excited that we won the award, because I want Speed Spectrum to stay around. It’s tough to get involved with organizations here. Why would you put in the time and effort if you’re not getting anything back? We’ve had a lot of trouble getting students to want to be associated with us, because they’re still really scared to be out on Speed Campus. I think that what this award does is puts us positively in the public light,” says Atchison.

Ultimately, creating a safe space mindful of the privacy of others is central to the Speed Spectrum’s mission. Atchison explains, “We’ve had issues with folks that really wanted to be involved, but they didn’t want to be addressed outside of the spectrum space. There are people on the campus that we have to ignore. If someone wants to be involved with us in that way, we’re happy to foster that.”