AU PRIDE wraps up Pride Month celebrations while looking forward to a new, in-person semester

Club leadership prepares to develop the group’s focus on community-building, political activism

AU PRIDE wraps up Pride Month celebrations while looking forward to a new, in-person semester

PRIDE, formerly known as Queers and Allies, has changed its name to PRIDE this fall after taking a poll of its members.

As AU PRIDE wraps up its celebration of Pride Month, members and leaders look towards a promising new semester when students return to campus after over a year of remote learning. 

This semester, the club has goals to address how anti-transgender legislation is impacting the trans community by co-sponsoring events on the topic of transgender discrimination. Recent legislation passed in Arkansas, for example, prevents minors from receiving gender-affirming treatments.

Director Cassidy Stoneback hopes this will allow for people to see how diverse members of the LGBTQ+ community are, and how they touch many parts of campus

“We’re really hoping to work with AU Dems,” Stoneback said. “We’ve been talking with them about doing something, and that will be really helpful because we’re to really focus on politics and activism this year,” said Stoneback. 

Stoneback and Deputy Director Jason Wieder feel that the community around the club will strengthen after being online for so long. 

“A lot of what we’re doing this year is on social media, sharing the work that other groups are doing,” Stoneback said.“We’re highlighting a bunch of other groups that are actually doing events in D.C., since we can’t do in-person events. But there are some events in D.C. that are in person.”

Still, the club held virtual events during Pride Month, as well as during the rest of the year. One event included a virtual Pride Art Night to learn more about queer art and artists.

For the fall semester, many freshmen and sophomores will have their first fully in-person experiences on campus. The club hopes to attract new members through Welcome Week, as they’ve done in the past. 

“I think we were actually the first club to have an event on Welcome Week last year which was really special, and that was getting freshmen in the LGBTQ community more acquainted with one another,” Wieder said.“And I think we want to do more things to that caliber in the next coming semesters.” 

With the return to campus for the fall semester and new club objectives, AU PRIDE looks forward to the coming semesters to see what new challenges to take on.

“We’re really just going to jump full throttle when we’re back on campus,” Stoneback said. “We’re going to host as many events as we can, have a bunch of more fun, community-building events and balance it out with more events about more serious topics that will lean towards politics and activism.” 

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