I was overwhelmed and delighted by the response to the Graduate Open Alliance’s meeting last Friday. Students from a wide variety of programs came together to discuss how we can make our campus a more welcoming and inclusive environment for GLBTQ students and their Straight allies. Some of the initiatives we pledged to work on together include engaging in multiple diversity dialogues at the College, creating social events and establishing strong relationships with all graduate student organizations, and becoming involved in community outreach and activism.
We hope to take these ideas and create an action plan to prepare for the organization’s official start in Fall 2010. If you’re going to be in town over the summer and would like to be involved, please let me know so I can keep you filled in.
As our first step towards visibility and community awareness, we resolved to investigate participation in the first-ever Charleston Pride Parade on May 15th. Today, I received word from the event’s organizers that we can be added to the parade schedule, but in order to proceed we’d like to hear from any Graduate Students (future, current, graduating, or alumni), Faculty, or Staff who’ll be in town to march in the parade. If you’re interested, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible. Your family members and significant others are also invited (Charleston Pride will be a kid-friendly event). For those who have never been, Pride is a fun way to show your support for GLBTQ people and to embrace the differences that make us all unique. It will be a day of fun, food, and entertainment, and also the perfect opportunity to introduce our fellow Charlestonians to the Graduate Open Alliance!
We look forward to planning this and many more activities in the coming year. I will be reporting on more developments as they unfold.