The LOUD and PROUD march on Friday kicked off Binghamton University’s Pride Week, an annual celebration featuring a variety of events, including the Second Chance Prom, Chalk Talk and the National Coming Out Day Carnival.
Multiple student groups, including the Rainbow Pride Union (RPU) and SHADES, organized Pride Week. Events began on Oct. 5 and will continue through Oct. 11.
Donald Lodge, a junior double-majoring in political science and Chinese, is the director of RPU. Lodge stressed the importance of spreading awareness about Pride Week.
“We want to increase awareness of the sizable LGBT community on campus and show support, considering all the bullying that occurs,” Lodge said.
He explained how the events of Pride Week are beneficial to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students at Binghamton.
“The events are to provide support but also for LGBT and allies to see it’s okay to be out in a college setting,” Lodge said.
The LOUD and PROUD march started at the New University Union clock tower, went around the Engineering Building and ended back at the clock tower. About 20 people took part in the march to support Pride Week.
Scott Rheinheimer, a fourth-year professional staff member and a resident director in Hinman College, led students in the march in chanting, “It’s okay to be gay!” and “Binghamton, be proud!”
Rheinheimer said one of the goals of Pride Week is to allow students to feel more comfortable at BU.
“We’re trying to accomplish higher visibility for LGBT students and staff and to show them it’s a safe and supportive environment and there are resources available to them on campus,” Rheinheimer said. “Also, it’s just fun to be at a pride event.”
Alex Scaringe, a special projects coordinator for RPU, talked about Safe Zone training, which will take place Tuesday afternoon. He said the training promotes people becoming allies of the LGBT community.
“An ally is someone not necessarily a part of the LGBT community but that respects that community and are advocates of change and equality,” said Scaringe, a sophomore majoring in biology. “You are someone an LGBT person can talk to without fear of being judged. You don’t have this diversity here at Binghamton everywhere, and we’re lucky.”
ResLife came up with the idea of Pride Week in 2009.
Andrea Cronkrite, a fourth-year resident director in Hinman, said the Pride Week organizers work to keep the events interesting.
“We plan different events every year, making sure we have new things coming to campus from the community,” Cronkrite said. “It’s a good way for the campus and community to get together around a good cause.”
Roslyn Boxo, a junior majoring in anthropology, said Pride Week can be an outlet for students.
“It gives people a chance to say what they don’t get a chance to,” Boxo said. “It gets you thinking about how much people on campus need support.”
Pride Week events for Tuesday include Safe Zone Training from 3-6 p.m. in Old University Union room 102 and a Rainbow Pride Union general body meeting at 7 p.m. in the Undergrounds Coffeehouse. On Wednesday, SHADES will hold a general body meeting at 7 p.m. in the Undergrounds followed by a showing of the movie “Beauty Mark” at 8 p.m. Thursday will feature a National Coming Out Day Carnival from noon to 4 p.m. on the Lois B. DeFleur Walkway, commonly known as the Spine.