Pride Center

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‘Dreaming’ of a bright future

The Pride Center hosts its first Q-mmunity Retreat

Students, faculty, and staff that attended the 2024 Qmmunity Retreat.

Students gathered on Feb. 24 to attend the first Q-mmunity Retreat hosted by the Pride Center. The focus of the day was on developing leadership skills to engage in community advocacy work. From team building exercises and yoga flow class to an opportunity to ‘freedom dream,’ participants came together in community to explore their own path to engage in social justice and advocacy work.

Dreaming of a better future

“Freedom dreaming allows us creatively express and explore a path, a practice, to find a way to work towards justice, to work towards queer and trans liberation,” said Dr. Jeff Maliskey, director of the Pride Center.

Maliskey expressed how it is important to dream and come up with new ideas or visions so we can begin to build a community that we want to live in, one we are proud to be a part of; this is challenging to achieve if we do not know what to build. Participants were given a large post-it notes to write out or draw their dreams. Some participants shared their dreams of a society that supported equitable housing, promoted healthier and greener cities with greater access to pedestrian friendly infrastructures. Others focused on queer and trans inclusive places and spaces where we could just exist without out fear of harassment, discrimination, and violence. Maliskey dreamed of a Pride Center with adequate funding and resources to hire more full-time staff inclusive of a trans advocate, queer and trans counselor, and programming personnel. He also dreamed of a larger Pride Center to accommodate greater student, faculty, and staff engagement needs, which also meant having an endowed Pride Center.

Though dreaming might seem like a silly or fun thing to do, Maliskey said, “Dreaming allows us to think of the possibilities and give us direction to make our dreams a reality one step at a time; even if that means making a lot of small steps to get there.”

The Pride Center plans to make the Qmmunity Retreat an annual event to further promote community engagement and advocacy for queer and trans students, faculty, and staff.