By Jack McLaughlin
Arts & Features Editor
Students gathered in the Center for Inclusive Excellence (CIE) for a relaxing paint and sip to commemorate LGBT History Month Oct. 10.
The event was put together through the collaborative efforts of the CIE and the Art Club, and allowed for students to have a safe and relaxing space to create artwork at any experience level.
Students enjoyed being able to take a break from classwork and have the time to express themselves through their artwork.
Computer science major Des Giron’s art piece was inspired by their passion for studying the ocean.
“I always loved marine biology, I always like to study deep-sea fish, sea creatures especially,” they said.
Computer science major Ronnie Chiu-Lin’s painting incorporated the use of pastel purple with white flowers.
American Sign Language major Hunter Younie’s art took more inspiration from the event itself, focusing on the different pride flags for different LGBT+ groups in the shape of hearts.
Director of the Center for Inclusive Excellence Jerome Burke spoke on the importance of hosting an event like this during LGBT History Month. He recognized that a portion of the University’s population identifies as being part of the community, and saw the importance of creating a welcoming environment for them.
“When we think about the work of the CIE, it’s always to create a sense of belonging, always making sure that students feel like there is a space on campus regardless of how they identify,” he said.
CIE Program Coordinator Emma Laurie also cited the importance of helping students get the opportunity to build connections with others who identify in similar communities to them.
“I think these kinds of events introduce students to people on campus. Not only just other students, but faculty and staff who are safe people for them,” she said.
Burke emphasized the importance of making sure the LGBT+ community is being recognized for their importance in our society.
Both Burke and Laurie spoke on the importance of distinguishing between pride month and LGBT History Month.
Laurie brought up the importance of not only celebrating LBGT+ history, but also acknowledging it.
She said, “It’s a balancing act. I think we need both queer joy as well as remembrance and resistance to move forward.”
Burke emphasized how important it is to have conversations about LGBT+ history since “if we don’t have conversations about where we’re coming from, we may end up there again without even realizing that.”
He added, “Dedicating an entire month to the community is really saying that we understand your contribution to society, we understand that your contribution has been magnificent - it has been big and it has been impactful.”
He also talked about collaborating with the Art Club, and how important art is to the LGBT+ community.
“When you think about the LGBTQ community, it’s always going back to a place of vibrancy and color, and being creative,” he said.
Laurie talked about the importance of collaborating with other student organizations on campus as well, explaining how the CIE is willing to help in any way they can.
“Jerome and I, we’re really big on collaboration, and if student organizations want to collaborate we are almost always wanting to help out with that in any way we can,” she said.