This semester, students have revived the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (GSA). The GSA was a club previously, but students voted to dissolve the club into a subcommittee of the Diversity Student Coalition (DSC).
Kara Burke, a junior who is a current member of DSC, felt the subcommittee wasn’t enough for LGBT students. Last fall, Burke spoke with Dr. Sheila Confer, Academic Village Director and Part-Time Instructor in Theatre Arts, about making GSA its own club once again. Dr. Confer was the faculty advisor for GSA and helped students organize a new, focused club.
“We just want to have a space where we can share our experiences and feel like we have people to relate to,” Burke said. “We didn’t really have that representation on campus.”
Joshua Hoeth, a freshman, also spoke with Dr. Confer about recreating the GSA.
“I felt like if it’s under DSC, we lose a lot of the individualized messaging for LGBT [students],” Hoeth said.
In addition to this, college students are often still navigating their sexuality and gender identity. Burke and Hoeth believe Pitt-Greensburg needs a GSA to provide students with a safe space for finding themselves without shame or judgement.
“Pitt-Greensburg, being a campus, [is] the perfect environment for someone who’s still developing themselves to feel safe,” Hoeth said. “I feel like it’s a necessary thing just because of that.”
Next semester, the GSA aims to help give LGBT students their own community, as well as educating straight students on LGBT issues.
“A lot of prejudice occurs from lack of education,” Hoeth said. Burke agreed, and believes the GSA can open a line of communication between straight and LGBT students.
“It’s important to have that interconnectedness between two different backgrounds so that we can ultimately understand each other,” Burke said. “We can decrease discrimination, or prejudice, or ignorance through understanding.”
Students who are interested in joining the GSA may speak with Dr. Confer or attend a meeting. The GSA meets every Thursday at 11:30 AM in McKenna 138.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated Dr. Sheila Confer was the Academic Village Assistant Director; Dr. Confer is the Academic Village Director. We apologize for the error.