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Ally Program

The Ally Program is a campus-wide program designed to foster a welcoming and supportive campus environment for LGBTQ individuals by creating a visible network of allies.

The program supports the Division of Student Affairs & Enrollment Management core value of establishing an inclusive community.  The Ally Program creates opportunities for non-LGBTQ people to learn about LGBTQ identity and builds connections between the broader campus community and LGBTQ individuals.

Ally Program volunteers display the "NIU Ally" symbol on door signs and buttons to visibly identify themselves as supporters of the LGBTQ population who understand some of the issues facing people who are LGBTQ and who are aware of LGBT resources.

Who can be an Ally Program volunteer?

NIU faculty, staff, graduate assistants, residence hall staff, and students who want to visibly show their support of people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and /or transgender can volunteer to be part of the Ally Program. Individuals interested in participating must attend the Ally Program training two-part workshop to learn more about how to be an effective ally.  After the training, they sign an ally agreement form which defines their role and responsibilities as an NIU Ally Program volunteer.

What does a volunteer in the Ally Program do?

First and foremost, just by posting an NIU Ally sign, volunteers send a visible message of welcome to LGBTQ people. They also send a message to the entire campus that respect for LGBTQ people is one aspect of Northern's commitment to diversity. Ally Program volunteers actively look for ways to integrate LGBT people into activities and services, and consider ways that activities and services may need to be adapted to be welcoming to the LGBTQ population.  In addition, Ally Program volunteers serve as informal resource persons who can provide support to LGBTQ people and help them access campus resources. Volunteers also offer a respectful environment for anyone who wishes to discuss concerns related to sexual orientation or gender identity.

How do I volunteer for the Ally Program?

A mandatory two-part training workshop provides a foundation of knowledge needed to be an effective ally.  Training workshops are offered periodically throughout the year.  To find out about upcoming workshops, visit our Calendar of Events. To sign up for a workshop, please complete our Ally Training Registration Form (the form will be activated when registration is open).  Each workshop is limited to 20 people, so don't delay in signing up!

What do the Ally Program signs look like?

Each sign is individualized with the ally's name, as in the sample shown below.

NIU Ally placard

What is covered in the Ally Program training?

The Ally Program training assists volunteers in learning more about how to be an effective ally. The workshops are informal and interactive. In Part I, participants learn more about the experiences and concerns of LGBT people; Part II focuses on ideas and strategies for how to be an ally. The workshops introduce participants to campus and community resources, and also provides an opportunity for volunteers to meet other participants in the program.

How can I find out who the Ally Program volunteers are on campus?

Use our Ally Finder to search for allies on campus!