Anitre Bell is a College Success Facilitator and Instructor at the Community College of Beaver County
Pride Month is officially here. We’ll see stores celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community through merchandise and apparel, brands changing their company logo on social media and campuses across the nation showcasing their school’s celebration of Pride Month. But, while that visibility is important, we need that strong support to continue beyond June 30.
My campus celebrates Pride during the month of June, but also throughout the year. They do so in a multitude of ways, and in this post, I’ll share a few of them.
Raising the flag
One way is through the prominent placement of the Pride flag. My college’s Student Services Center is the busiest building and the center point of campus, as it houses the main eatery and many other resources. On the first floor, there is a Pride flag that was placed there in 2018 and hasn’t been moved since. Proudly displaying a Pride flag in the busiest building on campus sends a message to all students that they are welcome at the school.
Establishing a Gender and Sexuality Alliance club
Another way my college supports Pride is with the installment of the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) club. This is an LGBTQIA+ student-led club with a faculty sponsor. The members of this club are present at the college’s activities fair, which gives all students a chance to explore the different clubs that the college offers, including LGBTQIA+ resources.
The club also hosts events on campus that teach LGBTQIA+ students about sexual health, contraceptives, what it’s like being an LGBTQIA+ community member, and how to practice safer sex. The college is not shy about promoting this club, which is apparent in the promotional materials that they have created over the years. The club recently held a Chalk Walk, where students made chalk drawings throughout campus, and an Open Mic, where students and the community could come together to share their writings and be heard.
On campus, we also have safe spaces where students know they can speak with certain individuals who support the LGBTQIA+ community.
Finally, my college celebrates Pride through professional development. It’s important to teach the campus community about the diversity within our campus, and that’s where our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) club comes in. This club meets once a month to share opportunities to educate faculty and staff, but also celebrate the diversity on our campus.
Additionally, we integrate LGBTQIA+ topics into our courses. One English Professor, for example, discusses Queer Theory in her writing courses, exposing students to different literary theories and perspectives. Down the line, she’s hoping to offer safe space training to the campus community, supporting students as they pursue their professional and academic goals.
The campus slogan, “You Belong Here,” aligns with our campus community. We want every student, instructor, and administrative member at Community College of Beaver County to know they belong here and feel that they belong here, too.
To learn more about fostering inclusivity, download our eBook on “How Fellow Instructors Create an Inclusive Classroom.”