By Sandee Sandhu
Student Allies for Equality (SAFE) is planning to bring a new initiative to campus and hopes that in the process they will be able to soon blanket Union’s campus with signs that read “I love someone who is Gay” and “I’m Out and Proud.”
These signs have a purpose: they are actually an extension of the OUTstanding Campaign.
This campaign focuses on very visual and personal signs of support.
This project came to life when Rachel Braccini, a student at Hobart and William Smith College, realized that LGBTQ support seemed to be lacking on her campus.
She then started a small initiative to increase awareness simply by sending out e-mails saying she was holding a photo-shoot with LGBTQ support signs.
As planned, people showed up, their pictures were taken and the fliers were then plastered on campus.
Suddenly, this small initiative became a full-blown support campaign.
Students began to ask for more photo-shoots so that they too could personally take part.
At Hobart and William Smith, there is now a compilation of pictures ranging from faculty and staff, to the lacrosse team, to individual students who want to show support as allies or identify under the LGBTQ spectrum.
Its success led Braccini to reach out to six other schools in New York: Colgate University, Hamilton College, Skidmore College, St. Lawrence University and Union.
SAFE has already met with Braccini and has begun planning their own photo support campaign.
SAFE Ally Trainer Lucas Rivers ‘15 notes, “Visually representing the support for a community on campus (LGBTQ) that is sometimes not always visible is needed.”
He mentioned, “Students are too often believing that their peers don’t accept or support them, but if and when they see their classmates expressing their support, our hopes are that more people will feel comfortable in their own skin.”
The hope, according to other SAFE representatives on campus, is to keep the movement strong and visibly see the campus climate change to be outwardly more accepting.