Social Highlights GLBTQ Resources At BC
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 17:01
Both the graduate and undergraduate GLBTQ communities of Boston College came together on Monday night for the first-ever Spring Welcome Social. Sponsored by the GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC), in conjunction with Allies and support groups Prism and Horizon, the event sought to promote the resources available at BC for students who identify as GLBTQ.
The social began on an optimistic note with Jill Claridge, GLC co-director of programming and LSOE ’13. A leader in the “Ellen 2 BC” effort, Claridge publicized four action teams currently being developed, and encouraged attendees at the social to consider applying. “The GLC cannot reach the entire campus on our own,” Claridge said. “We hope that bringing Ellen DeGeneres here, as an GLBTQ icon, would help us to raise awareness and to educate the BC community as a whole about GLBTQ resources.”
David Riemer, president of Allies and A&S ’14, promoted the endeavors on the part of the Allies organization to advocate for the GLBTQ community at BC, including an upcoming Valentine’s Day awareness event and a day of silence. “Our aim is to facilitate discussion and really open people’s eyes to what it means to be gay at BC. We seek to foster a better, more tolerant atmosphere,” Riemer said.
Representatives from support groups Prism and Horizon were also on hand to discuss the services their programs offer to gay, lesbian, bisexual, or questioning women and men, respectively. Both emphasized the openness of their groups. “We basically talk about different topics and issues that may be of concern to gay men on campus,” said Horizon coordinator Matthew Paek. “Feel free to come, we would love to have you.”
Prism representative Molly Kocher expressed a similar sentiment. “You’re welcome to always stop by,” she said. “Everyone is very welcoming and kind. Feel free to stop in just to say hi and see what it’s about.”
The theme of support persisted throughout the evening, as Stacy Green, assistant dean for student outreach and support and GLSOE ’13, attested in her address. “We recognize that BC is a large and complicated bureaucracy in some ways, and hopefully this can help you cut through some of that red tape and figure out what you need,” Green said. “I really want you to feel comfortable coming to BCPD or someone in our office—we’d really love to help you.”
She also promoted the upcoming retreat, Spectrum, as an opportunity for students from all levels of the GLBTQ community. “Spectrum is a special opportunity to get away from campus for a little bit, meet people, explore your own self and build on the wonderful community we’ve been developing tonight,” Green said.
For attendees, the faculty and accessibility of this community proved both surprising and gratifying, particularly given BC’s Catholic identity. “I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of resources available to the students, especially at a religious school like BC,” said new Allies member David Querusio, A&S ’16.
As several event coordinators noted, it was not always this way. “My freshman year there was no event like this for freshman to learn about the resources available to GLBTQ students,” said Josh Tingley, GLC president and A&S ’13. “I had to put in a lot of legwork to find things out.”
Freshman outreach head for GLC, Martin Casiano, A&S ’15, takes it as his duty that no current freshman has a similar experience. “In my freshman year, it was very difficult for me to find any resources,” Casiano said. “When I was named head of freshman outreach, I realized this event was really necessary.”
The success of the fall social only emphasized the importance of such an event for Casiano. “It enables students to learn about the resources available to them without necessarily committing themselves to an organization,” he said.
“It’s really important for this community to come together and learn about the resources available. No one should go through freshman year questioning, or needing help,” Casiano said. “Especially with our Catholic identity, it’s harder to identify as GLBTQ. With events like these, it’s really important for people to see an entire roomful of people, a whole community, who support you and know what you’re going through.”