Student Association meets with Pride Center to discuss appropriate LGBTQ+ language and Green Fund

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Image obtained from the UWL Student Association Facebook Page.

Morgan Hose, Student Government Reporter

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) met virtually with Pride Center peer educators to discuss appropriate LGBTQ+ language. SA also discussed sustainability efforts that the Green Fund committee is working on.   

 The Pride Center focuses on creating a safe environment for all LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff, educate the campus and community on issues, and advocate for student success and inclusivity. The Center seeks to provide ample educational opportunities and resources for UWL’s students, faculty, and staff including ally workshops, trainings, clubs, panels, books, documentaries, speakers, and student-led programs on current issues within the community. Peer educators from the Pride Center came on to give updates on appropriate LGBTQ+ language to use. The peer educators were Hope Carter (she/her/hers), Jamie Henk (He/Him/His/Xe/Xem/Xyr), and Cait McReavy (she/her/hers). 

Carter started off the meeting by discussing what each letter represented within the LGBTQ+ acronym: The L represents Lesbian, the G represents Gay, the B represents Bisexual, the T represents Transgender, the Q represents Questioning/Queer, and the + represents many other identifies such as intersex, asexual, agender, aromantic, pansexual, and Two-Spirit.  

Pronouns are how we identify ourselves in a third-person point-of-view and are becoming more widely used. More commonly referred to as PGP’s, or personal gender pronouns, there are a lot more than the binary pronouns most commonly seen (He/Him/His and She/Her/Hers). To learn more about pronouns, click here. 

It is expected to mess up every now and then, so Carter recommends following these rules. If you happen to make a mistake, correct yourself, briefly apologize, and then move on with the conversation. Do not center your emotions, overemphasize your apology, or get defensive. “You cannot be certain of another person’s pronouns without asking them. Asking, instead of assuming pronouns is a basic way to indicate that you acknowledge and respect this person and their identity,” said Carter.  

In order to help accommodate people of all pronouns, the Pride Center recommends using gender-neutral language. Rather than saying “you guys”, try using “y’all” or “everybody” instead. Rather than saying “ladies and gentlemen,” try using “colleagues,” or “friends.” It is also important to never use slurs. Slurs you want to avoid are hermaphrodite, transsexual, transvestite, tranny, and faggot.  

The last message of the night was to keep in mind that, “using appropriate language, correct pronouns, and avoiding slurs is suicide prevention,” (Pride Center). To learn more, follow the Pride Center on Instagram; @uwlpridecenter and more information can be found here on their website.  

There was no agenda for the general student body forum, however, SA would like to remind everyone that it is open to the public. If you ever want to voice your concern or give your opinion, you’re more than likely to come to the meeting. Meetings are every Wednesday night at 6:00. The link to the meeting can be found here 

The final topic of the night was surrounding a new Green Fund grant written by the Green Fund coordinator Andrew Ericson. The Green Fund gives the UWL community the means to make large steps towards a more sustainable campus (Sustainability). Each semester, every UWL student pays a small fee that goes towards the Green Fund to be used to pay for projects to increase sustainability efforts. 

The focus of Ericson’s grant was a request to put another OZZI machine in Whitney. There is currently an OZZI machine in The Union and adding another one to Whitney will reduce single-use waste that is now commonly seen due to COVID-19.  

Now more than ever, campuses around the nation are seeing an increase in single-use waste due to sanitary reasons behind COVID-19 and trying to prevent the spread of the virus. The OZZI machine was created to eliminate traditional disposable take-out containers. It works by giving every student with a meal plan a container with which they can fill with food and eat, or take it to go. When finished, students return the container to an OZZI machine and receive a token back that they can then use to get a new container. Look forward to another machine being added to Whitney dining center. 

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