Bringing Awareness to Student’s Needs | A Deep Dive with Alison Park, Assistant Director


In the Fall of 2022, Worcester State welcomed LGBTQ+ Resource Room Assistant Director/Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Alison Park. Alison got her bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University where she held several leadership positions at the institution and in her community. While getting her degree in Policy Studies she worked with the Girl Scouts and at the public schools in Syracuse. She then attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell to get her master’s in Higher Education. While completing her program, Alison had a role in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at UMass Lowell working with their LGBTQ+ Resource Room.

Alison has been at Worcester State for one full year and was born and raised in Worcester. While leading the efforts to establish the LGBTQ+ Resource room at Worcester State, Alison’s role with Title IX is to aid in the process and education efforts through the SAVE Committee and other programs that work to make our campus a safer place. Alison is involved with our LGBTQ+ Advisory board. “A lot of what we do is at the core of listening to the pulse of what we can do to make policies better for LGBTQ+ people at Worcester State.” Alison shared she is proud of the work done before she got to Worcester State and is looking forward to continuing the work with the people involved on that committee.

Alison Park, Assistant Director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Room and Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Lessons in Leadership

In her time at WSU Alison feels she has grown as a leader with the many hats she wears in her different roles. “At times it’s finding which hat fits at different points. I feel there are different aspects of what I need to do to feel successful and make sure others feel welcome and included.” She feels the biggest lesson she learned in her leadership journey thus far is the importance of accountability and being able to take the responsibility of leading folks and being that person who can provide that support no matter what the situation is.

She further shared how her leadership style is based on leading by example. “As cheesy or cliche as it sounds, being able to provide that role model and example of mentorship is integral to being a good leader.” Alison’s definition of a great leader is someone who inspires others through their actions, work, and words. “I think it’s important for people to see other people in leadership roles that look like them and share similar experiences that others can be inspired by.”

Identity Culture and Leadership Development

Alison shared that her identity as a first-generation Korean American, female, and lesbian person has given her a lot of empathy towards folks from different backgrounds and enables her to be understanding of people who are different and aware that people come from different lived experiences. “I am more conscious of people and more intentional with the language that I use when talking to people. I try to make a lot of things more inclusive in ways for everyone to partake. For example, just because I am part of the LGBTQ community I don’t want to leave out allies, just because I am conscious of my Asian American identity I don’t want to leave out other BIPOC folks because I know that to uplift everyone we have to be inclusive and the core of leadership should be bringing everyone together.”

Alison additionally discussed that she thinks great leaders can be misunderstood at times and it sometimes takes questioning why a leader would do something important to understand them better. “When I think about leaders in some social justice movements, there’s sometimes controversy if it is right or wrong, and sometimes for change to happen the envelope has to be pushed.”

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Success at WSU

Alison expressed that Lavender Graduation was one of her most meaningful moments at Worcester State thus far. In the spring of 2023, Alison led the coordination of Worcester State’s first lavender graduation ceremony. This ceremony acknowledged the work and varying successes from leadership to academics amongst graduating seniors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community. “It was a very special moment for the graduating seniors and a lot of the community members came to show their support for folks in the LGBTQ+ community.” Alison looks forward to continuing that program in a bigger space on campus as the support for the event was so big that the room was full and it will be good to welcome more people next time.

She continued to share that some of her biggest accomplishments since coming to Worcester State have been getting her master’s, which has helped her to better understand the students and pulse points at Worcester State regarding both LGBTQ+ and Title IX matters. “Understanding some of the systemic pieces has been helpful along with getting to know other people at Worcester State who are passionate about supporting the LGBTQ+ community for the better.”

Advice to Future Leaders

When asked what advice she would give to future leaders at Worcester State Alison said she feels leaders should “have an open mind and heart. Be open to new experiences and if something scares them, they should take the leap and be open to being a leader because with that experience comes personal growth and making connections with their identities in ways they wouldn’t have if they didn’t do something that scared them.” She further emphasized to take every opportunity if they have the means to and students should “get involved and do the things!”

She feels it’s important for students to understand that learning never stops and it is important to learn and grow and try to educate yourself on different subjects as much as possible. “Things change, times change and it is important to grow a little every day.”

LGBTQ+ Resource Center

The mission of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at Worcester State is that it is a safe space dedicated to advocating for the needs of LGBTQ+ students and their allies. The aim is to create an open and inclusive environment that affirms all sexual orientations, forms of gender expressions, and gender identity through means of advocacy and education. “What I envision is a lot of community engagement and ways that students can access resources in the Worcester community as well.” Alison discussed the importance of her role in this center being someone who can listen to students and hear what they need to feel included and safe while having a good time and being comfortable with their Identity while they are here. “It is important for students to learn who they are and develop as people in this college environment. I know identity is a big piece of that especially LGBTQ+ folks who may not have the easiest time acclimating to a new place.”

Alison feels it is important for the center to collaborate with other departments and groups such as LGBTQ+ Alliance, Drag Club, and other organizations to bring the community together and work together to bring awareness to resources and healthcare needs as laws that affect LGBTQ+ identifying people are changing on a larger scale in our country. “I think there are a lot of working pieces and great allies on campus and I envision us working together to continue to educate ourselves and participate in training that makes us aware of what our students need.”

Alison shared that a lot is being done to establish more gender-inclusive spaces such as restrooms and housing on campus, “It is not perfect yet but I would love to get more information out there to staff and administrators to get that information out to students to know where they are and make things accessible.

Click here to learn more about the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the ongoing work being done at Worcester State.