Following the opening of its LGBTQ+ Resource Center March 29, Santa Fe College is celebrating Pride Month through virtual activities and events featuring a Pride parade, student activity bags, a community art project and a trivia night.
The virtual Pride parade, where students shared pictures of themselves or their pets wearing Pride flags, colors or decorations, will be posted Monday to the Student Life’s social media, according to the Student Life website. All submissions will be entered in a giveaway to win a Pride face mask, pin set and tote bag, according to the website.
The college also offers activity bags to students in celebration of Pride Month. The bags are available to enrolled students in the first-floor lobby of Building S at the northwest campus from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the Student Life website. Out of the 70 bags available, 12 remain as of Wednesday, Student Life administrative assistant Iva Lien wrote in an email.
Besides a rainbow-themed fan and flag, a bag of Skittles and a paper square are provided in every bag.
The pieces of paper are provided to encourage students to express themselves and share their designs for a community art project with the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, Student Life civic engagement and service coordinator Sarah Blanc said.
Students are to decorate the paper squares provided in the activity bags and bring them to the LGBTQ+ Resource Center, where they will be included in a collage and displayed in the center when the collage is completed, Blanc said.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center was designed to provide a physical space for face-to-face interaction, she said. Yet, access to the center has been limited by the pandemic, Blanc said.
“Since we haven’t had as many students around this year, we’re trying to come up with ways to remind them that the space is there,” she said.
Uminder Saini, an 18-year-old Santa Fe College psychology student, said the resource center on campus has made her feel more comfortable with the college.
“I love that there are people on campus pushing for the LGBTQ+ center,” Saini said. “And I love seeing that come to fruition and for it to be like an actual place that people can go.”
Saini said she appreciates the college’s efforts of embracing and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. Over the years, she said she has watched herself and her friends become comfortable in their own skin and accept themselves for whom they want to be.
Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ Resource Center are important to increasing community connection at the campus, dean of access and inclusion Cheryl Calhoun said.
She said it can be difficult for members of the LGBTQ+ community to identify other LGBTQ+ people and straight allies, or heterosexual and cisgender people who support the LGBTQ+ community.
“The idea of Pride Month is a chance for that community to not only have some level of visibility and voice but for us also to recognize some of the discriminations that they experienced across different sectors of our society,” Calhoun said.
Liz Jusino, a volunteer staff member at the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and advising specialist for the college, said she has been a part of the LGBTQ+ community for years. Although she said she sees the college in its early stages of providing a space for acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community with the resource center, she said Santa Fe College provides a welcoming climate for the community.
“As a Puerto Rican woman, I have felt comfortable here in this environment,” she said.
The college’s Pride Month trivia night June 2 hosted two participants, Student Life administrative assistant Iva Lien wrote in an email. However, 496 people have engaged with Student Life’s social media posts featuring daily trivia quizzes for Pride Month as of Wednesday, she wrote.
“We want our students to feel like they’re being respected and also safe,” Lien said.
The colors of the rainbow for Pride Month are displayed throughout the college’s events and activities. The institution plans to continue awareness efforts in remembrance of the past and for looking toward the future for the LGBTQ+ community at Santa Fe College.
Contact Antonia LaRocca at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @antoniarlarocca.
Antonia LaRocca is a staff writer at The Alligator.