UTD Dallas students volunteer online this week with Campus Pride Alternative Service Learning Break

This week, a small group of UTD students and I were able to participate in a week of
volunteering and education with Campus Pride! While we are sad that we could not volunteer in
person, we still managed to keep ourselves busy assisting in a variety of ways while also
learning a lot about the LGBTQ+ community.

Our site leader Emma Bluestein (she/her), and our responsible university official Matt Winser-
Johns (he/him) guided our small group- Christopher Manalansan (he/him), Alana King (she/her),
Michelle Tan (she/her), Abi Veerappan (she/her), and me (she/her) as we assisted Campus
Pride in furthering their mission of creating safer and more inclusive college environments for
LGBTQ+ youth.

On Tuesday, we began by meeting Shane Windmeyer, founder and executive director of
Campus Pride, and we were introduced to all Campus Pride has to offer, such as the Campus
Pride Index, college and career fairs, and Stop the Hate training, among other services. Then,
we were given the opportunity to learn a breadth of information on notable LGBTQ+ individuals
in history, such as Harvey Milk (the first openly gay person elected to public office) and Magnus
Hirschfeld (father of transgenderism.) We enjoyed testing our knowledge with a quick game of
Kahoot as well. After that, we were introduced to our ongoing service project of compiling
information on various colleges media outlets (like student newspapers and radio stations) so
that Campus Pride can get in touch with these schools and hopefully assist them in making their
campuses more inclusive by providing students resources and knowledge from Campus Pride.

On Wednesday, we began our day with a presentation and Q & A with Dr. Genny Beemyn, an
expert on the experience of trans people in the US and director of the Stonewall Center at the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, about trans inclusion and identities under the Trans
Umbrella. We learned about how to use gender-inclusive language and how to be mindful while
respectfully asking others about their pronouns as well as how to handle situations in which we
or others, may accidentally use the wrong pronouns. We also learned about the extent of
violence, sexual violence, and psychological distress that trans people may face. We also
continued our work on the college media outlets lists.

Thursday began with a presentation and Q & A with Robyn Ochs, educator, speaker, and
activist about bisexuality and other middle sexualities. We enjoyed learning about the spectrum
of sexualities under the bi+ umbrella as well as the increasing proportion of people in the US
that identify as bi+. It was particularly interesting to learn about the challenges bi+ people may
face when seeking inclusive non-judgemental healthcare as well as the prejudice and
discrimination they face from various medical professionals. In the afternoon, we worked on
short videos for Campus Pride's Instagram stories to promote mini-grants, volunteering, and
Give Out Day.

On our final day, we heard from Shane one last time as he presented about LGBTQ+ people in
college and higher education. We learned about how the Campus Pride Index is calculated as
well as some ways we could consider improving our own campus to become more inclusive. We
also finished up our work on the videos and college media outlets list.

I think I can speak for the entire group when I say we were so grateful for this opportunity to
assist Campus Pride and the great work they do to help LGBTQ+ youth across the country.
Special thanks to Shane Windmeyer, Dr. Genny Beemyn, Robyn Ochs, Matt Winser-Johns, and
Emma Bluestein for all the help and guidance this week.

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