I began working at the Pride Center in my
first year as a full-time student at BSU. Before that, I had never had a
community I belonged to on campus. Being an employee at the Pride Center
helped me find that. Between my coworkers and the students, faculty, and
staff who frequent the Center, I found friends and allies who helped me
through my time at BSU.
As an employee of the Pride Center, I also developed skills that have helped me in school and will help me as I enter the job market. I learned to work in small groups to successfully plan events. I stepped out of my comfort zone and discovered that I have a talent for public speaking and presenting topics that Ive researched. Through being involved in the Coming Out Discussion Group and Food for Thought events, I learned how to lead a focused discussion and how to create safe discussion spaces.
The Pride Center also helped me discover my own identity. By being in the Pride Center, involving myself in discussions, and doing research for events, I learned about LGBT-related terms and theories that gave me a better understanding of myself.
Ive always had a desire to help others in the queer community, and being an ambassador gave me a way to translate those feelings into action. The Ambassador Program allowed me to create my own goals based on my interests, and through weekly ambassador meetings, I learned how to build a plan that would allow me to follow through. By accomplishing my goals, I gained leadership skills and experience.
As an ambassador, I was given a chance to educate the campus through events I created and by acting as a speaker in various classes and trainings. I also learned to identify problems on campus and how to advocate for policy change to help fix those problems.
In addition to practical skills, the Ambassador Program gave me a support system of fellow ambassadors and other allies on campus that both helped me achieve my ambassador goals and gave me a better sense of community at BSU.
Lou Johnson, B.A. Art, 2012
As an older transfer student, I wasn't expecting
to find a sense of community when I arrived at BSU. What I found working
at the Pride Center was community and much more. By planning, promoting,
and facilitating events, I was able to become familiar with my strengths
and work on my weaknesses with the support of my fellow workers. The
trainings we received were helpful in learning to understand the
dynamics of power and privilege. I gained a new awareness of both my own
identity and of the experiences of others. The skills and knowledge I
gained during my time as a student worker at the Pride Center are the
central pieces in a toolkit I find myself continually using and
expanding upon even after college.
Applying to be an Ambassador seemed like a natural next step when I, as a student worker at the Pride Center, became aware that some changes could be made to better serve the needs of LGBT (particularly transgender) students at BSU. I was able to attend Camp Pride, which helped me realize where I wanted to go with my work as an Ambassador. I enjoyed being able to create events and work on projects with my fellow Ambassadors; our work made a tangible, positive impact on campus.
Kate Hayes-Huer, B.A. Art, 2011
For two days I paced back and forth down the hallway where the Pride
Center is located. After 18 years of hiding, I was ready to finally show
who I truly was. Even after I came out to my parents, I still felt like
an outcast. Had I not gone into the Pride Center and introduced myself
on the first day of classes, my experience here at BSU would not be what
I consider the greatest experience of my entire life. I met so many
great people who I am very proud to say have become some of my closest
friends. I finally felt comfortable with other people knowing who I was,
but most importantly, I finally felt comfortable with knowing who I was.
Since then, I have made it a point to stop in the Pride Center at least
once a day and I make every effort to attend every event that the Center
holds. Without the amazing people that I have met in the Pride Center, I
would not be where I am today.
Patrick Conley, Undecided First Year Student
As a senior at Bridgewater State University who has been here for 7
semesters, I can honestly say one of the best things I have done while
here on campus is get involved with the Pride Center as an ambassador.
In high school I was active in my GSA and had a passion for GLBTQA
issues, but I found when I got to college I didn't know where to fit
those passions in. The summer before my junior year I was given the
amazing opportunity to attend Camp Pride, which came with a year of
volunteer work with the Pride Center as an ambassador. At first I didn't
know what to expect, but I quickly found that this was exactly where I
could channel my passion for leadership, education, and LGBTQA issues. I
was given the ability to create workshops and activities that not only I
had an interest in but would impact the campus as well while also being
able to bounce ideas and feedback off of my fellow ambassadors. In this
program, I not only discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my
life, but I found a sense of community and family. Being involved has
allowed me to develop both as a leader and person and helped me to
genuinely believe that I could make a difference. I will forever be
grateful for the opportunity I was given to serve the Center and campus
in the capacity as an ambassador.
Kelly Neufell, Social Work, Anticipated Graduation Date Spring 2013
Last Modified: November 7, 2012