Gay-Straight Alliance Progressing
Published: Friday, May 4, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 4, 2012 01:05
For a certain group of students at LSC, the hand-drawn posters around campus mark a new beginning.
The Gay-Straight Alliance, which faded out several years ago, has begun to make it’s way back. Figuring out schedules, fund-raising, and a more specific mission statement is always a challenge for a young, reborn club. Despite that, however, club members seem determined to make it work.
"I really want to see this grow," said club president Britton Durham.
Durham, after returning from a tour in Afghanistan with the National Guard, decided to come to LSC. The lack of a GSA on campus was something he, and other students, felt had to be changed.
"I felt the school really needed something," said Durham. "Not just for gay students, but for everyone. It should be a place for everyone to come and feel comfortable to be who they are."
SGA representative Hannah Hamel agrees.
"It's not just for the gay rights movement or those involved in it. It's also a front for bullying," Hamel said. "It's such a huge problem in our generation, even [in] college."
The fact that LSC is so close to Lyndon Institute, Hamel went on to say, is also a contributing factor in how important the club could be to the community. Since ideas about community service and volunteering for next year are already being discussed, Durham and Hamel feel that next year's GSA members could have more of an impact.
Restarting a club is rarely easy when all the seniors who previously formed its ranks have graduated. Durham and the rest of his executive board found scheduling meetings a challenge this semester, particularly because of the lack of awareness around campus. Despite the hand-drawn posters and other attempts at promotion, Durham and Hamel believe that their lack of representation at Club Fair was part of the problem. While eight to15 students attend most meetings, they would like that number to grow.
While Durham and other executive board members say they will attempt to promote the club more through the summer, they have already hosted some events.
In particular, member Olivia Hamel found the AIDS event educational and relevant. A speaker from Vermont Care talked about AIDS awareness, as well as general safe sex practices.
The nonprofit organization, which offers free HIV tests among its other services, is only one of the groups which Durham would like to have speak to the club and to the campus.
A possible goal for upcoming semesters would be to host a day-long "Pride Day" conference, said Durham, which would include multiple speakers and events. It would be open to RAs, professors, faculty, and students in order to address the issues of bullying, LGBTQ-related subjects, and the promotion of safe ally spaces on campus.
Since this is their first semester back, a lot of changes lie in store for the GSA. Fund-raising methods and a refocusing of the group's priorities and plan of action are to be discussed, as are other methods of promotion.
As of this semester, meetings are held Thursdays in ASAC 216 at 6:30 p.m.