Members of UofL's LGBT Center at the 2019 Pride Parade

University of Louisville LGBTQ students who feel isolated due to the COVID-19 pandemic can find new friends through a project that matches pen pals across Kentucky higher education institutions.

The Come Together Kentucky (CTK) Connections Pen Pal Program includes students from UofL, the University of Kentucky, Bluegrass Community and Technical College, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, Northern Kentucky University and Transylvania University. Some UofL students have already signed up, and the deadline to register is June 15.

The pen pal program was initiated by the UK Office of LGBTQ* Resources to allow students to maintain social connections during a time when individuals are encouraged to be physically distant.

“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,” said Lisa Gunterman, director of the UofL Belknap Campus LGBT Center. “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 university email addresses and be matched based on institution, location or interest for the summer pilot program. Email lgbtq@uky.edu with questions. 

“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.”

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Janet Cappiello covers the College of Business, the J.B. Speed School of Engineering, the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Sustainability Council and military initiatives for the Office of Communications and Marketing. She has more than 30 years’ experience in journalism, including working for The Associated Press and magazines such as Vegetarian Times and Sustainability: The Journal of Record. She has been at UofL since March 2014.