Fairfield University Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA) partnered with both the Fairfield University Student Association Diversity and Inclusion board and Fairfield United, to host a “Picnic N’ Parade” on April 9, celebrating queer students at Fairfield University.
The event was located in the Quad. The Stag statue was adorned with various pride flags, which also marked the walkway leading up to the event, including the transgender pride flag and the bisexual pride flag. Additionally, rainbow garlands hung from trees in the Quad, highlighting where the event was being held.
Even though it rained for a period of time during the event and the temperature was on the colder side, the event still had a significant turnout.
Eden Marchese ‘23, director of diversity and inclusion of FUSA, described the event’s turnout.
“Turnout was really amazing,” they said. “Even with it raining for part of the event, a ton of students came out to celebrate Pride with us and helped to set up flags all around campus.”
The event featured activities such as tie-dying shirts, button making, dancing and singing. Food was also included, with options like empanadas, chips and salsa and more. Pronoun pins and pride pins were available for everyone, and pride merch was being sold throughout the event.
First-year student Phil-Jay Whyte commented on his experience at the event.
“It’s been a very good experience so far. It’s so welcoming and I feel at peace here,” he said. “I’ve been socializing a lot and everyone’s so friendly.”
GSA Secretary Ray Hinds ‘23 commented on the success of the event.
“The pride event was a success after all the rain, everything ended up working out. There was an amazing turnout and it ended up being an amazing day,” Hinds said.
The importance of the event was brought up by GSA President, Ruby Francis ‘22.
“I think having it in the quad was smart for visibility of the event,” she said. “In general it is good for the campus to see that there are queer people on campus and it’s good to celebrate the queer community.”
Vice President of the GSA, Samantha Ritchie ‘22, also commented regarding visibility of the queer community on campus.
“I feel like it is good that we have visibility, as there is not a lot of queer representation on campus,” she said.
The future of pride at Fairfield University was commented on as well.
“It was a really nice event, with a very welcoming and friendly environment. It makes me really happy to see pride at Fairfield, and I hope we can see more events like this in the future!” said first-year student Rachel McKay.
After the event on the Quad, the Pride 2022 celebration ended with a “Pride Parade” around campus.
Molly Durant ‘23, reflected on the event and how she believes the event made students on campus feel more accepted and celebrated.
“I had a great time at Pride! It felt really special for the LQBTQ+ students and staff to have a visible presence on campus, and to hopefully make other students in the community feel more accepted and celebrated,” she shared.