By Joshua Ostrer
An LGBT ally organization, which has yet to be named, is new on campus this year. The program is aimed at training student allies in assisting with the struggles of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community.
According to the program website’s mission statement, the group focuses on the identity development of allies and developing educational interventions.
Jessica Sarrantonio ’12, who first brought the organization to Union College, explained that the program is intended to be distinct from other LGBTQ programs on campus because it will cooperate and work alongside existing programs. Nonetheless, it is, however, intended to be separate from other campus groups.
The alliance program is also intended to help fill part of the void left by Spectrum, the gay-positive campus club which is currently inactive.
The new program emphasizes training LGBTQ supporters on how to effectively support the cause.
The National Consortium of Directors of LGBTQ Resources in Higher Education clearly focuses on the term “ally”, which can be defined as an individual who supports a subjugated group by acting as a proponent of the organization’s proposed goal.
Although Union’s program is not officially cataloged on the program’s national database, Sarrantonio explained that “it’s totally in the making—it’s not an official club, yet.”
The program is unique because there is no particular method to its implementation into society. Some schools, such as the University of Michigan and Texas A&M have produced guides to their own campus programs and have made this information readily available for other schools.
However, Union’s program will use a “train the trainer” program. On Jan. 16, Megan Bolger, a senior at Hamilton College, will be visiting Union to jump-start the “train the trainer” program here at Union.
The four-hour session, which over a dozen Union students are scheduled to attend, is to be the first step in the building process. The program will be the first time all the students involved will meet together.
This initial training is designed to be the first stepping-stone in making the organization active on campus and the goal of this process is hence to expand membership by training a larger group of students to make the program more effective.
Anyone interested in joining or learning more about the program can contact Sarrantonio at [email protected]