Thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of our on-campus counselors and student affairs team members, Endicott College has a strong Alliance backed by the power of initiatives like Safe Zone. To date, over 200 people in our Endicott community have been Safe Zone trained, and we expect that number to climb each year going forward.
But for those who have not been to Safe Zone training or for those who are unclear what the Alliance does or stands for, we wanted to provide you with some helpful pieces of information so that you can educate yourself and your friends.
You do not have to be LGBTQ+ to join the Alliance
Even in 2020, there is an unfortunate, highly-prevalent misconception and stigma that being a member of the Alliance at Endicott or any other college group of the like automatically means that you are a part of the population it seeks to defend. That could not be further from the truth. Powerful alliances are made up of all kinds of people. Some similar groups used to call themselves “Gay Straight Alliances,” but today’s groups recognize a wide spectrum of identities and have therefore opened up the names for maximal inclusivity.
At Endicott our group is about everyone, because everyone deserves support. Support to be who they want to be, academically, physically, and emotionally.
Currently, the Alliance has two advisors, both of whom are well-known figures across campus; Resident Director Brianna Bono [she, her, hers] and Counselor Amanda Snow [she, her, hers].
“We want everyone to know that the Alliance is a safe space for all students, where they can come as they are and feel accepted. We welcome students who identify within the LGBTQ+ community and their allies. As advisors, we value our role in supporting the students in using the club for whatever they need most. Sometimes it's a space to process and vent, sometimes it's for educating ourselves and others,” Bono and Snow explain.
Bono had a deeply personal reason for joining Endicott and the Alliance. She says, “Something that was imperative to me during my job search was the ability to work with a club or organization that supported and amplified the voices of the LGBTQ+ community. In my past experiences as a queer college student, I saw firsthand how difficult it could be to navigate a community if there is no representation. Visibility is so important to me and I wanted to ensure that the students I worked with knew they had a ‘place’ on their campus.”
What you can do to be an Endicott ally?
1. Stand up to bullying
You may not personally be a bully or have any specific issue with a marginalized population such as the LGBTQ+ community, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help further their cause. It’s said so much that it has practically become a cliché, but if you see something, say something. Do something. Stand up and show the world that you are a powerful, empathic leader who is proud of the entire community that you are a part of. Go Gulls!
2. Become educated
As with any ongoing civil or human rights-based movement, LGBTQ+ itself is an ever-evolving concept. It was not long ago that pronouns were a new idea, but these days major steps are being taken by such educational companies such as Merriam-Webster to be more inclusive. As an active member of the global community, it is now the expectation that you try to learn and understand others and their place in your collective world. Do your research, it will be greatly appreciated.
If you still don’t understand certain concepts that you researched, the best way to become educated on issues surrounding marginalized populations is by asking (respectfully) for more information and listening. Just this act alone can be the bridge that helps others feel more comfortable in their world.
4. Get involved
Many will say that they are equal rights advocates, but when it comes to proving it with real actions, few will show up. The fact is, even though you may not realize it, there is an above-average chance that someone in your life who you care about deeply is actively being marginalized. That person could be your parent, your sibling, your friend, your educator, or even your mentor. It could be anyone. Your participation can move mountains; act.
5. Get Safe Zone trained
Safe Zone trainings are opportunities to learn about LGBTQ+ identities, gender, and sexuality, and to examine prejudice, assumptions, and privilege. They are regularly provided to faculty, staff, and students and are a perfect way to educate yourself.
Committed to an inclusive future, together
We hope that many of you are inspired to join the ranks of the Alliance and get Safe Zone trained after reading this article.
For more information on the Alliance, contact either email@example.com or find them on Instagram. To learn about how to sign up for a Safe Zone training date, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.