Sophomore Kelly Villacres joined Fairfield’s Alliance after growing up in an environment that wasn’t conducive to being open about sexuality.

“I wanted to understand the perspective I didn’t have growing up,” said Villacres. “I was born and raised in a homophobic environment, but it didn’t make sense to me, so I wanted to learn this perspective and I love it.”

Alliance invites people of any sexual orientation to help promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender awareness on campus, as well as provide a space for everyone to come together and support others. Students can join Alliance with no prior knowledge of the club and become knowledgeable by the first meeting.

During a discussion, students sat in a circle, fostering instant connections. Everybody laughed while introducing themselves, stating their name, major, highs and lows of the week and favorite animal.

Sophomore Teon Smith joined Alliance a year ago to support a friend who was struggling with opening up about her sexuality to friends and family.

“I got support from a group of people who I can tell anything to,” Smith said.

For Robert Padilla ‘17, Alliance is a “non-judgment zone, everybody can be what they want to be,” reiterating the fact that creating a safe space is a key factor for the club.

Regarding the upcoming year, President of Alliance Alex Johnson ‘15 said that his hopes include being “a club that doesn’t just exist, but is seen and heard on campus.”

When asked about getting students engaged and promoting LGBT awareness, Johnson explained that the club has various events in October as part of LGBT History Month, including a movie series.

“We are trying to have several safe space trainings,” added Johnson.

This year Alliance plans to collaborate with two organizations: Gender, Sex and Sexuality Commons (GSS) and Performing for Change (PFC). The groups host events such as Women’s Day, Take Back the Night and a Visual to promote social justice, including domestic violence awareness.

The club is one of more than 80 clubs on campus and meets every Monday at 8 p.m. in Barone Campus Center Room 202.

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