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Safe Space

LGBTQ Resource Center coordinator advocates for students

Published March 13, 2015
Story and photo by Derek Poore

Struby Struble

Struby Struble is a co-host of "InsideOUT" radio show and coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center.

Struby Struble’s job is crazy, stressful, challenging and rewarding.

“Before I had this job I prided myself on being really good at prioritizing, then this job showed up,” Struble said, laughing. “But it’s rewarding. One of most challenging and rewarding parts of the job is that there’s a sense that I’m responsible for those students and for their well-being on campus.”

LGBTQ Advocate

Struble, who has spent four years as the LGBTQ Resource Center coordinator, is in charge of advocating on behalf of the LGBTQ community on campus. Struble provides Safe Space training across campus and is a co-host of InsideOUT, a weekly talk radio show on KCOU-FM.

Struble spends a good deal of time talking with students in the center about everything from the rigors of college life to their experiences with depression, anxiety, loss of family and childhood sexual abuse.

“I’ve kind of become a one-stop shop,” Struble said.

“This is their life. Students struggle. Life’s hard sometimes. Our students are dealing with the same stress everyone else is: finances, school work, relationships, how to be an adult.”

But then there are also complicated factors for LGBTQ students, Struble said. They might be going through bad breakups, “but half the people didn’t know they were in relationship or half didn’t approve of the relationship anyway, so they don’t get the general support that everyone else would. Some students lose financial support from their families when they come out.”

Erik Hall, a Mizzou journalism graduate student, has volunteered at the center for three semesters. “[Struby is] always cheery so it makes it a fun place to be for people that are looking for acceptance,” said Hall. “It's essential for the LGBTQ community to have their own space, and she makes people want to spend time there and get involved.”

Following Dreams

Between her time as a student at Mizzou and her return to the LGBTQ Resource Center, Struble played for a semi-pro soccer team in San Francisco and lived for awhile in Spain.

Soccer was always a dream for Struble. She accepted a full-ride scholarship to a private college in San Diego, played every minute of every game her freshman year and was elected captain her sophomore year. But just before classes started that fall, the school eliminated its women’s soccer program. Struble transferred to Mizzou but decided not to play soccer.

After graduating from Mizzou with honors in English in 2004, Struble lived in Spain through 2005. She returned to Mizzou to work as coordinator of the Women’s Center. But dreams of becoming a soccer player continued to pull at her heart.

“I found myself repeatedly telling students to follow their dreams and do what they want to do,” Struble said. Because an injury and the cutting of the San Diego soccer program ended her soccer days prematurely, Struble wanted to try again.

So she spent a year training herself and tried out for professional and semi-professional soccer teams around the country. Struble landed a spot on the San Francisco Nighthawks and played from 2009–10. But Struble missed serving the community and found herself back in Columbia.

“I feel like I got what I wanted from my time there,” Struble said. “It was quite surprising to me how unfulfilling [soccer] was because I missed feeling like I was doing good in the world.”

Making A Better World

When the coordinator job at the LGBTQ Resource Center opened, she immediately applied.

“It was very interesting how much I missed a career with the purpose of making the world better. The mission of my office is making a better world.”

Struble, who is often looked to as a leader in the university LGBTQ community, gets satisfaction when she can sit back and watch students have frank discussions.

“Watching students create a space that’s safe and respectful is amazing,” Struble said. “Seeing students, who we were genuinely concerned about their well-being, then seeing them succeed — to watch that, is one of the most rewarding things.”

Published by the Division of Student Affairs, 211 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211 | Phone: 573-882-6776 | Fax: 573-882-0158 | E-mail: StudentAffairs@missouri.edu

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Last updated: Aug. 15, 2017