By: Tiffany Langlois (writer) / Michael Ryan (Photography)
FSCJ students have numerous options to choose from when making the decision to join a club. Students who join clubs enjoy the benefits of meeting new people and reap the reward of shared knowledge. FSCJ’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club (GSA) provides students with an opportunity to meet others who share their same opinions and much more.
Lori Cimino, Instructional Program Manager, Sign Language Interpreting assisted students in the creation of the club at FSCJ’s South Campus. “The club is student driven. I was approached four years ago by a group of ASL students who felt that it was time for FSCJ to have a club in place for individuals who were in search of a safe and non-judgmental place to meet,” Lori Cimino. Current GSA members still include ASL students who share the same values as GSA alumni. ASL students attend meetings together and practice the language throughout the meetings. The meetings, however, are for everyone and including, LGBT students and their friends.
Everyone is welcome to join GSA. GSA’s purpose is to bring people together to accomplish their mission and make FSCJ a safe and welcoming place for all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. They want to bring students together to form a loving and non-judgmental place.
GSA President Bethany Martinez begins club meetings with icebreaker questions, such as, “What is your least favorite ice-cream?” and “Who is your favorite Superhero?” Members work together to plan and attend activities together. Martinez is looking forward to having a bake sale before Halloween. “I love making cupcakes,” Martinez tells members. Martinez is seeking to hold an event with the American Tang Soo Do club at South Campus, which will provide GSA members with a lesson on self-defense.
The members are planning to meet-up and attend the 2015 Pride Festival at the Riverside Arts Market on October 4. Members will attend the event together to promote a sense of community and fellowship with LGBTQ individuals and allies. Some members will also be attending Deaf Awareness Day at South Campus on October 7.
The club invites anyone interested in sharing thoughts and ideas with others in a place where everyone is free to be themselves to join in every other Tuesday in M2220 from 2 to 3 pm. The next GSA meeting is scheduled for October 6.
For more information, follow FSCJ Gay-Straight Alliance Club on Facebook, or contact Lori Cimino directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or her office in M2147 at South Campus.