Springfield College junior Bethany Boyle sheds some light on the campus diversity at Springfield. Boyle tells us what its like to be a lesbian in a college setting. (Sean Seifert/The Student)
Springfield College is undoubtedly a diverse environment. Students may blend together as they walk around campus clad in maroon and white, but the melting pot wouldn’t be the same without the identities beneath those colors.
A new club is looking to recognize the many differences on campus and grow into a resource that students have never quite had before at Springfield College.
The SC Pride Alliance is just two weeks old, but the young club has already established a mission with serious potential for impact. The Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) at Springfield College has been around for over 14 years and its student-faculty committee has made an impact on campus, but the president of SC Pride Alliance, Katie Patrick, says her club is different.
“We’re more about accepting people for who they are, not what they are,” said Patrick. “We are a label-free organization where you can come because you support equality and you support the cause.”
Patrick and the rest of SC Pride Alliance notice the tragic bullying and teen suicide rates in our country, and the club says enough is enough. Through a student-alliance system, the SC Pride Alliance is offering a welcoming environment for students from every walk of life. SC Pride Alliance vice president Noah Pascal says everyone needs an ally.
“We are an ally-based group with the goal of bringing about social change towards equality and recognizing the differences that exist on this campus,” said Pascal.
The inviting atmosphere of the club is what separates it from others. While other organizations may ask what color flag you wave, Pascal believes that labels are a step backwards.
“Groups in the past didn’t work because they were too focused on the labels,” said Pascal. “We want anyone and everyone who believes in justice and equality. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Faculty advisor of SC Pride Alliance Dr. Daniel Russell has been involved with GSA at Springfield for years. Russell has been at SC since 1984 and is now a professor of social sciences who instructs such classes as Civil Liberties, Social Research and Social Movement Organizations. Russell said a club like this has been a long time coming.
“I’ve always felt there was an important need for a club like this,” said Russell. “I think it is really critical because sometimes a student can feel as if they are cut off, not connected and not supported on issues like sexuality. It’s extremely important.”
The club will co-sponsor traditional campus events such as Coming Out Day and Day of Silence this year along with a brand new event of its own.
Ally Day will fall in February of 2012 and will mark the first major event by SC Pride Alliance. Ally Day will be a day to promote the new club’s mission and gather a following, a following its members consider very important.
“We want to branch out to the student population; all of [the] population, not just a select population,” said Patrick. “I also want underclassmen. I think it’s important to branch out to them because they essentially will make the change on campus.”
All identities welcomed, the SC Pride Alliance has been cemented into the club scene at Springfield College as a venue for social change and acceptance.
“Our meaning and our cause is universal,” said Pascal.
The SC Pride Alliance meets every Thursday at 4 p.m. in the Student Activities office conference room in the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union.
As the club steps toward forming its own identity on campus, it is clear that there won’t be a lack of allies at SC from here on out.
“We want to offer a level of support for students who feel they don’t have any. We’re saying we’re here and we support you,” said Patrick.
Sean Seifert may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org