Rainbow lights reflected off the walls and pride flags were displayed Tuesday night as LGBTQ students and faculty gathered for the annual ISEC Pride Center Social.
A room packed with members of the WKU LGBTQ community came together in the Augenstein Alumni Center Thursday for a night of sweet treats and fellowship. Attendees were addressed by multiple members of the WKU faculty and staff, who expressed their support.
“What I want you to do is to think about what you need from us,” said Sharon Hunter, Assistant Director of Data Analysis and Research for HRL implored students. “What support for this particular community what can we do for you?”
Hunter said this event was one of her passions and that she felt the most rewarding part of the night was the coming together of the LGBTQ community on WKU’s campus.
“A college campus is one of those places that you can kind of drift through and never meet your people,” Hunter said. “As part of my remarks, I asked who had met someone that they didn’t already know and almost the entire room raised their hands — that’s the reason we’re doing this.
Hunter said the number of people who show up for the ice cream social grows each year.
Another member of the WKU faculty who made remarks at the event was Patti Minter, professor of history and state representative for Kentucky’s 20th district, who spoke about the Fairness Ordinance and about faculty support of LGBTQ students.
“We are here,” Minter said. “So please, come find us, in our offices, reach out in any way that you feel comfortable. We’re here every day, every night, to make sure that everyone feels safe and feels welcome on this campus.”
Anthony McAdoo, executive director for the WKU Alumni Association, also made an appearance at the event to inform students about a new group of alumni that was forming: the Topper Pride Alumni Chapter.
“The purpose of this alumni chapter is to form a network of alumni that are LGBT or allies that are committed to helping students on campus access the career support needs that they have, ” McAdoo said.
Music played as people ate ice cream and mingled in groups seated at tables or on the floor, with others in attendance standing.
Most of the attendees are students such as Savannah Arnold, a freshman music education major, and Dani Degun, who both said that the event helped them meet new people within the LGBTQ community.
“I identify as queer and its been really hard to find people who are associated with the LGBTQIA,” Arnold said. ”Having an event like this made me realize that there were a lot more than I thought.”
Degun said that the most exciting part of the night for her was the faculty presence at the event.
“It’s especially nice to have faculty, to know that there’s not only kids like you but also adults, teachers, faculty and staff that know what you’ve been through that can help and talk to you,” Degun said.
News reporter Abbey Nutter can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @abbeynutter.