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Pride in the Park with UWL’s Pride Center

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Pride in the Park with UWL’s Pride Center

 \Marissa Widdifield

\Marissa Widdifield

Marissa Widdifield

\Marissa Widdifield

Marissa Widdifield

Marissa Widdifield

\Marissa Widdifield

Marissa Widdifield, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice Reporter

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Rainbow flags were a common sight at La Crosse’s Riverside Park this past Saturday Sep. 8, 2018. Pride in the Park began at 11 a.m. and ended at 6 p.m. The event hosted a wide variety of vendors and organizations throughout the community – including a booth for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Pride Center.  

Kadie Daniels, co-chair of Rainbow Unity and peer educator of the Pride Center explained the basic function of the organization on campus. They said, “We want to be visible. We want students to know we are a safe space and resource and that there are things out there for them.” They also made sure to communicate that although the Pride Center is located on campus, it is always open to community participation.  

Mason Sonnenberg, a junior at UW-La Crosse and the co-chair of Transform, added, “We do a lot of education on campus to make the campus a safer place for LGBTQ+ people.” He also said, “I first came to Pride in the Park as a freshman and it’s interesting to see just how it’s grown already. It’s nice to see the community of La Crosse come together.” 

The Pride Center’s first event is the LGBTQ+ Social occurring Tuesday, Sep. 11. Garrett Denning, the Pride Center’s graduate assistant said that the social is a “welcoming event for the Pride Center. It’s our chance to get LGBTQ+ identified students to be able to come together and celebrate achievements.”

 The social starts at 5 p.m. and ends at 6:30 p.m. at the Pride Center located in the COVE on the second level of the Student Union. Pride Center scholarships will also be awarded during this time.  Rainbow Unity will have its first meeting a half-hour after the social on this Tuesday, Sep. 11 at 7 p.m. in the COVE. Transform will likely be meeting Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. but that is subjected to change.  

 When asked about their favorite Pride Center events, Daniels, Sonnenberg and Denning mentioned the community’s “So You Think You Can Drag?” happening Friday, Sep. 14 at the La Crosse Center starting at 9 p.m., doors opening at 8 p.m. This event will finish off Pride Week which is noted as the most-student attended event. Tickets will cost twenty dollars for general seating and forty dollars for VIP and reserved front row seating. The money from tickets sold will go towards student scholarships and tips received will be donated to local charities. Members of the Pride Center and its clubs have the opportunity of volunteering during the show.  

The Pride Center holds Ally Workshops throughout the academic year upon request to teach students, staff, and faculty about LGBTQ+ terms and concepts. Club opportunities such as Rainbow Unity, a sexuality and gender diverse group of individuals including allies and those with LGBTQ+ parents as well as Transform, a group dedicated towards Transgender students and their allies.  

 Those who want to learn more about LGBTQ+ related topics and receive more information about what the Pride Center offers can locate the Pride Center’s hours on the UW-La Crosse website along with terminology, resources and brief introductions of employees.

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