As the sun set over the lawn of the John A. Barone Campus Center on Nov. 2, Fairfield University Student Association representatives tried their best to wrangle rogue balloons flipping around in the wind, setting up for Fairfield University’s second ever Pride Fest. It was 40 degrees outside and the wind was whipping. The balloons, spelling out the word “Pride” kept attempting to break free from their strings attached to chairs. One rainbow balloon got loose and flew away across campus as the FUSA representatives yelled, “No!”
However, as the FUSA reps finished setting everything up, groups of students began to trickle in, grabbing t-shirts adorned with rainbow flags and FUSA logos, ready to have fun and do some tie dye.
Although the second Pride Fest was much smaller than the blowout event held last year, it still maintained an air of excitement and fun.
Heather Biers ‘23 enjoyed the event, even in the freezing weather. “I’m very cold, but other than that I love tie dye so I love this,” she said.
The weather was not a deterrent for students, it seemed, since several people showed up to Pride Fest despite the cold. Fairfield Alliance also attended and did their fair share of tie dying, enjoying the event.
Last year’s Pride Fest featured music, food, guest speakers and several stations for students to pick up pride swag and make posters. However, an event of that size and magnitude would have been almost impossible to pull off due to the COVID-19 regulations on campus. The event also could not be held indoors since more than 10 people would be gathering and enforcing social distancing rules in the Lower Level BCC would be difficult based on the large number of people who attended last year.
Martha Quiblat ‘22 of FUSA programming was proud of the event, despite the changes that needed to be made.
“It’s good that we have this event,” she said. “This was the best we could do to have a fest… It’s a good way to support the community, too.”
Jaclyn Burns ‘21, director of marketing and public relations for FUSA agreed with Quiblat.
“Our original intent was to host a second annual Pride March, but unfortunately because of COVID-19, replicating last year’s program was not possible,” she said. “This led us to come up with the idea for Pride Fest. While the weather on Monday was not ideal, we made the most of the situation, and sincerely appreciate the work the Diversity and Inclusion and Programming boards put into planning the event.”
While the event may have been smaller than last year’s and had strict guidelines to follow due to the virus, everyone managed to make the most of the situation and was able to enjoy themselves and celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. The event was still light and fun, giving members of the Fairfield community a little break and some fun to forget about COVID-19, at least for a little while.