Ransdell embraces LGBTQ community at Ice Cream Social

Hardin freshman Libby Dowell, left to right, Murray freshman Tesia Like, Corbin freshman Austin Smith, and Murray freshman Payton Allison eat ice cream together at the LGBTQ Ice Cream Social on Thursday, Sept. 21, 2016, at the President’s residence. Dowell and Like said they were surprised and happy to see how many people showed up to the event.

SarahBeth Davis

Globe lights gave the backyard a warm glow as servers spooned out vanilla ice cream to students.

In the glow, Bowling Green sophomore Francisco Serrano stood in President Gary Ransdell’s backyard on Wednesday night eating ice cream, mingling and listening to Ransdell’s message of embracing the LGBTQ community at WKU.

Wednesday night, Ransdell hosted the third annual LGBTQ Ice Cream Social that was open to all LGBTQ students, faculty, staff and allies. Many of the students in attendance were advocates for the LGTBQ community such as Serrano.

“It’s really awesome just to see everybody socializing here, seeing different cultures, different ideas, different people of color,” Serrano said. “It’s really awesome because we all share that same feeling that we support these people in the LGBT community.”

At the Ice Cream Social, Ransdell welcomed first year students and congratulated the graduating seniors and faculty in attendance. He also spoke on the need for embracing students of all backgrounds.

“Often I hear the words diversity and inclusion, I really don’t like those terms either,”  Ransdell said. “I like the word embracement, because that’s much stronger, that’s much more positive term.”

Lexington freshman Tyrus Sundy said he felt embraced at WKU.

“Seeing Gary Ransdell and Julie Ransdell doing this event for us is amazing, how they care about the students,” Sundy said. “WKU is very positive, very open minded, and how they’re standing helps students to be successful.”

In addition to the Ice Cream Social, WKU also hosts a Lavender Graduation, a ceremony honoring graduating LGTBQ students. The Intercultural Student Engagement Center and the Center of Citizenship and Social Justice provide resources for students, and some students are leading their own inclusion initiatives.

The Student Government Association implemented the “My Campus Too” initiative last year to focus on diversity and inclusion at WKU of all marginalized students of all kind, including racial minorities, LGBTQ+ minorities, non-traditional student and more.

The Queer Student Union also holds meetings throughout the year open to all students to provide safe spaces for LGTBQ students.

Ransdell decided to host the Ice Cream Social to personally embrace and welcome the LGBTQ community and encourage an open minded attitude towards all people on campus.

“This is to make sure that every student on our campus knows that they belong here, that they’re embraced, and are important part of our campus community,” Ransdell said. “But unless you do something to demonstrate that – it’s just words.”

Digital reporter SarahBeth Davis can be reached by phone at 270-745-6288 or by email at [email protected].

In an earlier version, the Herald misspelled Francisco Serrano’s name as Francesco instead of Francisco. The Herald regrets the error.