By Aliyah Rose Kiesler
Drew’s Student Government has recently received a large amount of negative feedback regarding the lack of any form of GSA or LGBTQ+ Alliance groups on campus despite Drew’s high ranking in LGBTQ friendliness by the Princeton Review. As a response, the student government recently announced the revival of the Alliance again for the first time in over two years. On September 29, Drew Student Government has announced that it is recruiting students to re-form “The Alliance”, a now-defunct Drew club that served as a safe haven for members of the community and its allies. “We think that it is devastating that there is no LGBTQA safe space at this school,” said Jared Sutton, the Student Government President, “so that is why this is such an important step to take.”
The meeting regarding the reorganization of the Alliance took place on Oct. 17. A circle of attendees introduced themselves and explained why they were at the meeting. The meeting made its start with discussing the requirements to start the club again. This list of requirements included a senior advisor, a board, a faculty advisor, and last but not least, and a strategy to engage more students. Moving on, they worked on making a mission statement for the club. Even though it is open for alterations in the future, the current mission statement for the Alliance is that “The Alliance is an all-inclusive club that offers a safe and supportive space as well as provide education about the LGBTQIA community through advocacy opportunities. We value all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, race, or any other characteristic.” One of the biggest themes of this meeting was coming up with a new name for the club. The favorite within the group was PRIDE.
Many of the students who knew about the restart of the club were only first year students. At the meeting, many of these students mentioned their previous experience with GSA in high school and their disheartenment to find out that Drew did not have any. Many students also mentioned how the support they found in that kind of community made it their favorite and welcoming place to be. Most students had no idea that this was an ongoing project.
The support from the old members of the club is, for the most part, outstanding. One person who attended the meeting used to be on the board of The Alliance. “I didn’t know that there was a plan to bring The Alliance back,” said former member Amanda Bryant (’17), “but I would definitely attend their events.” Robert Gordon (’17) expressed his level of love for the community he was apart of. He also said that he would be “willing to help the club get on its feet again and aid anyone who felt that they didn’t know what they were doing during any time of the process.” Keiran Edgar Wilson (’17), the former president of the Alliance said that “quite a few students have expressed interest in restarting Alliance.” He added, “Since it went inactive a few years ago, and it’s disappointing that student government now has to take it on because no one has really followed through on starting it. In my time with the Alliance, it was not a very active club in the sense that we had a very small membership base and people weren’t getting involved at meetings or events. No one was asking us to be a safe space or an activist group, so Alliance lost its purpose. I hope the Student Government has luck in getting students to revive Alliance, because it is a shame that we don’t have an active LGBT* organization on campus.”
Anyone interested in helping to restart the club, supporting the LGBTQ* community, or just finding a safe space on campus is welcomed to contact the CFO, Rio Peterson (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.