The Southern Utah University Pride and Equality Club hosted an open-campus painting night on Thursday, March 10 at 6 p.m. in the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. The club provided painting materials and miniature canvases as well as a safe environment for students to express themselves through their art.
The club hosts similar events each Thursday like game nights, food donation drives and clothing swaps.
“Whether they’re a part of the queer community or not, it’s a place where people feel accepted and know that they can find friends with like-minded views,” Christina Guerra, the club’s president, said. “It’s also a place for people who have never really experienced being around LGBTQ+ people.”
The club also helps those find a safe way to be engaged in the SUU community while being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Guerra herself was initially anxious about expressing herself before enrolling at SUU but the club helped her overcome her fears.
“I came from a pretty big city. I didn’t know anyone here, and I was really scared because I knew Utah had a really big religious majority and I was scared of what that meant for me,” Guerra explained. “Then I realized this club existed and I was like, ‘well that’s amazing!’”
Before the meeting began, the group hosted a discussion involving “Rainbow Moments” where club members would share one positive thing that happened to them over the past week. This has been a tradition that has lasted for years within the club.
“I would say we’ve been doing Rainbow Moments at PAEC for at least as long as I’ve been here,” Guerra said. “So for the last three years, most definitely, and probably even longer than that.”
There is no set topic for Rainbow Moments so the discussion allows for students to share anything they want as long as it is positive. The main purpose of the tradition has mainly been to help students celebrate their successes when they have no one to talk to about them.
“I think it’s just a great way for people to talk about their lives,” Guerra explained. “Sometimes students aren’t always around people where they could tell someone about something really awesome that happened to them.”
After the Rainbow Moments concluded, Guerra and the club’s vice-president, McKay White, handed out the materials and covered the desks so the students could begin painting. Those in attendance painted a wide variety of subjects from their favorite TV show characters to art showing support for Ukraine.
Many of the attendees stayed after the meeting to chat with one another, as is the case with many other of the club’s meetings. Guerra believes that if the club’s events help bring people together, each one is a success.
“That’s probably one of my favorite parts,” Guerra said. “Just seeing people have fun and meet people.”
The event lasted until about 7:30 p.m. and the last of the members left closer to 8 p.m.
The group’s next event will be a meeting scheduled to be held in the CDI on Thursday, March 17. To learn more about the club and their other events, follow them on Instagram.
Article by: Luke McKenzie
Photo courtesy of Rahul Jain on Unsplash