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Pride Month | SAGA supports LGBTQ+ students while increasing understanding for all

Steve Jones

For both LGBTQ+ students on Spalding’s campus who are seeking a supportive space, and for non-LGBTQ+ students who are interested in understanding more about the gay and transgender community, Spalding’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) student organization is eager to help.

SAGA student leader Kris Kirchner said the organization meets at least twice every six-week academic session, usually around lunchtime, providing a place for friendship and safe dialogue among LGBTQ+ students and their allies. It also hosts a few special events per year, including its signature, year-ending drag show.

As Pride Month and the 2019-20 academic year wrap up this week, SAGA will have finished another year as a successful student organization. It’s rotated a dedicated group of student leaders since it was founded about 10 years ago, originally under the name Unanimity. SAGA was the 2019 winner of the Student Government Association’s Pelican Cup as an outstanding Recognized Student Organization, and it received a 2020 grant from SGA.

Kirchner said SAGA is always looking to grow its membership and welcome students to attend events. Last year’s events included a movie night and a holiday cookie-decorating night, and Kirchner said the group will likely add a tie-dye decorating party in 2020-21 and may participate in a student panel discussion.

Kirchner said following @SAGA_Spalding on Instagram is the best way to stay updated and learn how to get involved.

LEARN MORE: Follow @SAGA_Spalding on Instagram  
FROM PRIDE MONTH 2018: Alum Dustin Hall: ‘I like to say that Spalding really saved my life’
FROM PRIDE MONTH 2019: Nursing student Bridget Pitcock is dedicated to eliminating LGBTQ health disparities

Kirchner said SAGA is planning an August Welcome Week info meeting in which any student is invited to learn about the organization and ask questions and learn about LGBTQ+ labels, and what LGBTQ+ life is like. A similar SAGA event last year called, “What’s the Tea, Cis? An LGBTQ Q&A and How to Welcome Queer People in Your Space” – in which Kirchner led a student conversation over lunch and iced tea – was well-attended and well-received by students from multiple universities.

“Sometimes it’s hard to get people to support and understand if you don’t open up to those questions,” said Kircher, a junior who majors in Creative Arts. “I’m really excited to be a part of that and make it not just a great social group for LGBTQ students but we can also speak up for issues of LGBTQ students and educate and make it a place for people to learn and grow.”

“We said, ‘Here’s what the flag means.’ ‘Here’s how sexuality and gender and romantic attractions are different.’ It’s just the simple things that aren’t often talked about.”

SAGA faculty/staff advisor Laura Detmering said the organization embodies the Spalding mission.

“As a student organization, they have promoted compassion and acceptance on campus through their varied activities and a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community and allies to connect socially on campus,” Detmering said. “SAGA is an essential organization in today’s climate, bringing pride and compassion to Spalding’s campus.”