GIESO to host virtual Night Out celebration for graduating LGBTQIA+ students

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The President’s Commission on Gender Identity & Expression and Sexual Orientation (GIESO) will host a virtual celebration for graduating lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA+) students on April 29 at 5 p.m.

Jesse Factor, co-chair of the Night Out committee and instructor in the dance department, said the event will serve as a way of sustaining community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because the idea of community was really important to the commission, we thought that the virtual event was a way to engage but also sustain a sense of community,” Factor said.

The event was previously held on campus for about 13-14 years according to Cindy LaCom, co-chair of the Night Out committee and gender studies director. LaCom said the transition to an online celebration is an opportunity within a challenge.

“In a challenge, I almost always see an opportunity, and I think this has been an opportunity for us to creatively and collaboratively work together to recognize and honor LGBTQIA+ seniors but also undergrads who will be part of the ceremony and understand how much we value them as people, their presence on our campus [and] the work that they do,” LaCom said.

During the event, graduating students will have the opportunity to be recognized. LaCom said Graduating students will also receive graduating stoles from GIESO in the mail.

The event will also include awards for individuals on campus who have shown activism, visibility and allyship. The award recipients include Mimi Campbell, associate director of housing accommodations and the recipient of the “Breaking the Silence” award, and Rock PRSSA members Drew Confer and Gabriella Yanniello.

There will also be a Kahoot game on LGBTQIA+ issues during the virtual celebration.

Students who wish to attend this event should complete the RSVP form. They will then get a link to the event’s CORE page with the link to Zoom.

Other committee members for Night Out include Erin O’Connor, Melissa Teodoro and Vanessa Vought.

Hannah is a junior secondary English education major and communication minor entering her second year on The Rocket staff and her first year as editor-in-chief. Previously, she served as assistant news editor and covered Student Government Association affairs and local crime. After graduation, she hopes to teach English, communications and journalism to high school students. Outside of The Rocket, Hannah is also part of WSRU-TV, Sigma Tau Delta, and the Honors College and works as an educator in the Transition Achievement Program.

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