On Feb. 14, Fairfield University’s LGBTQ+ community came together for an inclusive celebration of Valentine’s Day, hosted by Fairfield Alliance.
Students gathered in the McCormick first floor lounge and were treated to Valentine’s-themed treats and love songs sung by LGBTQ+ artists. The club also set aside a table for making valentines for friends and loved ones.
Senior Eleanor Sgaramella, the vice president of Fairfield Alliance, believes that this event was an important one for campus. “We wanted to do an event basically to be an all-inclusive Valentine’s day event,” she said. “Non-heterosexual couples could have a space to celebrate the holiday and know that they were safe.”
This event was just one of many that Alliance has put on in the past school year to promote inclusivity and acceptance on campus. In the Fall 2019, Alliance also helped organize and participated in Fairfield University Student Association’s first Pride March to raise community awareness, and partnered with the Alliance Build-A-House to host a Thanksgiving Dinner for club members and friends to discuss the idea of finding a “chosen family.” In an interview back in November, Sgaramella explained why she feels so strongly about Alliance and providing a safe space for members of the Fairfield University LGBTQ+ community.
“I definitely have times where I feel apprehensive of people in the [campus] community or am just generally nervous knowing there’s no telling for sure if I’m in a safe space, which is why Alliance has been such a great resource for me,” she said.
Back in 2010, Fairfield University was ranked #19 on a list of LGBT Unfriendly Campuses by the Princeton Review, as previously reported by The Mirror when the list was first published. Although LGBTQ+ staff and students may seem outwardly happy, there have been a number of reports of hate speech and slurs used. That’s why Alliance members believe that the club and its events are so important.
“I feel like Alliance made a great safe space,” said Eden Marchese ’23. They are a vocal advocate of LGBTQ+ visibility on campus.
In the past 10 years since the Princeton Review article was released, Fairfield University has been making strides towards visibility and inclusivity for the LGBTQ+ community and sponsors a variety of events. A showing of “Tom na Fazenda”’ is scheduled at the Quick Center on March 20, 2020, co-sponsored by Alliance and the Triangle Community Center in Norwalk– a local LGBTQ+ resource center.
More Alliance visibility events will be scheduled throughout the remainder of the semester and president Lexi Thimble ‘20 and Sgaramella hope for increased inclusivity on campus thanks to them.
Editor’s Note: Lexi Thimble is the current Editor-in-Chief of The Mirror.