The University of Colorado Boulder’s Pride Office hosted their annual Pride Picnic Tuesday, Aug. 30 on Farrand Field. The event was held in hopes of connecting campus’s LGBTQ+ community while interesting them in future Pride Office events and resources for LGBTQ+ people on campus.
The Pride Office, a relatively new resource at CU, was established as part of the Center for Inclusion and Social Change in 2020. According to their website, the office hopes to advocate for LGBTQ+ students and staff by offering resources and opportunities to connect with their peers.
“We aim to empower LGBTQ+ people to embody their identities with pride and celebrate their experiences as part of our community,” the office said on their website.
During the picnic, the Pride Office offered food, prizes and free merchandise to attendees with picnic blankets scattered across the field. Signs posted around the event advertised future events like Queers and Cakes, a meetup for LGBTQ+ community members with food offered from a local bakery, on Sept. 13.
Students in attendance at the picnic participated for a variety of reasons; however, most sought to connect with other students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
“I feel like it’s an opportunity to learn about other people’s experiences and a chance for camaraderie between us,” said freshman Marley Pratt, a first-time attendee at the Pride Picnic. “It’s also an opportunity for students who don’t even know the size of the community here on campus.”
Other students hope that events like the Pride Picnic will help foster a positive environment for diverse perspectives and communities on campus.
“I think being at a place like CU, it’s important that there’s space for more diversity,” said Neill Shikada, a second-year graduate student at CU. “It’s very important to have organizations that encourage that.”
Like many other organizations on campus, the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the office’s operations. However, according to Pride Office Director Morgan Seamont, this year’s Pride Picnic showed renewed promise for the coming year.
“This year, I think [students] are much more excited about going to events in person,” Seamont said.
Seamont, who identifies as a transgender man, has a personal connection with the LGBTQ+ community on campus. In 2010, as a graduate student at the university, he transitioned and first became acquainted with the LGBTQ+ resources on campus.
“From there, I became an employee, then I became a full-time employee, and now I’m the director,” he said. “This is my passion: to help our queer community feel like they belong here.”
The Pride Office has many more events and resources planned for the coming year, including an LGBTQ+ peer mentorship program designed for queer students to help find their place on campus. Registration is open until September 12. Those interested in information can visit the Pride Office’s website here.
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