After gaining probationary status, Seton Hall’s LGBTQ organization, Protecting and Respecting Individuality, Diversity, and Equality (PRIDE) is planning to restructure the organization and increase their presence on campus.
PRIDE obtained probationary status in the Spring 2019 semester by the Student Organization Advisory Committee.
Mitchell Swinehart, a rising sophomore anthropology major and president of PRIDE, said the organization was very limited in the types of activities and events they could do this past academic year.
Swinehart explained that this was due to the inability to request money from the Student Government Association (SGA) Finance committee prior to gaining probationary status.
“We are planning on doing more events and letting people know that there is a LGBTQ organization and a safe place for people on campus,” Swinehart said.
Swinehart said PRIDE members are beginning to plan events for the upcoming year. The organization is creating a special week in the beginning of the school year. This celebratory week, which includes discussion panels that center on coming out and other topics, is geared toward expressing pride in the community, he said.
He added that along with hosting events, the organization is set to diversify its meetings. In addition to talking about LGBTQ history, Swinehart said the meetings will consist of learning about people who are rarely talked about in the community, such as people who are nonbinary, gender queer and transgender identity.
Swinehart said he wants to make sure PRIDE offers a safe space where people can feel a sense of community.
“I am a trans-man and while I do have the support from my family I don’t have support outside of that,” he said. “However, being able to connect with people who have similar experiences and being able to step in a room and be part of the community is very important to me, and because of that I wanted to help make sure the organization continued.”
Swinehart said the meeting times are still being finalized, and will be set before the involvement fair early in the fall semester. He added that the organization takes measures to ensure the safety of the people that attend the meetings.
For example, the members follow procedures such as not forcing anyone to share their identity or sexual orientation, and no photos at meetings, unless it is ensured they have permission to do so.
Melinda Primorac, a rising sophomore theatre, political science and philosophy major, said her job as secretary is to document anything the organization does and to help the club have a bigger presence on campus.
“I want to make sure I spread the word about events and really help the club grow larger,” Primorac said. “I would love for us to have more giveaways and educational panels.”
She added that she is most excited to meet new members in the fall and for their family to grow.
She said, “It was so exciting when I found out the club gained probationary status. This is such a huge step for the LGBTQ+ community on our campus and I’m excited not only for myself, but for all the students who will get to experience our club in the years to follow.”
Nicholas Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.