Student and Academic Life

Keeping LGBTQ* Students Connected, Sign up Today for the Come Together Kentucky Pen Pal Program

photo of multi colored flag symbolic of LGBTQ*

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 28, 2020) — The Office of LGBTQ* Resources has partnered with diversity and inclusion colleagues at Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University, Transylvania University and the University of Louisville to create the Come Together Kentucky (CTK) Connections Pen Pal Program. The pen pal program will connect LGBTQ* students across campuses, allowing them to maintain social connections during a time when individuals are encouraged to be physically distant.

“Named after the Come Together Kentucky (CTK) statewide LGBTQ* collegiate conference, the CTK Connections Pen Pal Program is a continued opportunity to foster community among LGBTQ* college students in the Commonwealth,” said Rayne Parker, assistant director in the Office of LGBTQ* Resources at UK. “We hope these connections continue into the academic year.”

Staff at the participating colleges and universities support connections of LGBTQ* students as a feeling of community, and peer support has a positive impact on identity development, academics and overall well-being. 

Lisa Gunterman, director of the LGBT Center at the University of Louisville, is excited to see the program launch. 

“We may be rivals on the court, but we look forward to partnering with our good friends at UK Office of LGBTQ* Resources on this important initiative," Gunterman said. "The disparities faced by LGBTQ+ students place them at greater risk for isolation during this time, especially if home is a place that is not supportive or unsafe. The CTK Connections Pen Pal Program will allow students to connect with peers from across the state, find support and learn from one another, while fostering friendships and connections.” 

Students can sign up with their respective university emails and can be matched based on institution, location or interest. The sign-up form is accessible until June 15 for the summer pilot program. Email with questions. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.