Everywhere the Pride community and its supporters celebrated National Coming Out Week and Bryant University had its own version of it. Last Tuesday, October 10th, to Thursday, October 12th, Bryant University’s PWC Center for Diversity and Inclusion hosted their 3rd Annual Coming Out Week. It consisted with a kick off party, followed by an event where students created Pride buttons and was concluded with two days of training in Pride awareness, Safe Zone and Trans 101. Events like these help unify the Bryant community and allows us to expand our understanding of eachother’s differences. Kelly Boutin, the coordinator for the Hochberg Women’s Center, commented that, “ Each year, I’m blown away by the allyship of our faculty, staff, and students. It’s a special thing to have folks come out as ‘an ally,’ ‘an advocate,’ ‘queer,’ ‘gay,’ ‘a lover to all love.” As coordinator for the Women’s center Kelly has the opportunity to see all of these individuals create an inclusive LGTBQ community.

One of the most popular events of the week was on Wednesday, October 11th, when Bryant Pride hosted a “Make Your Own PRIDE Button” event. This event was not only enjoyable to the individuals making these celebratory buttons but also comforting to those in the LGBTQ community by knowing they had support from those who attended. When asked about the event itself Kelly Boutin pointed out that the visibility of it held importance. She said, “Visibility, whether it be a button or a Safe Zone sticker is so important to cultivating a community of awareness and genuine acceptance. I believe we are getting closer and closer to that vision.”

That very vision is growing stronger every day globally and on Bryant’s campus we can proudly say that over 350 faculty, staff, and students have been Safe Zone trained in the past three years, with even more trainings prior to that. Yet last week’s showing of new trainees was slim and according to Kelly Boutin there has been a sharp decline in Safe Zone participants in the last year. In order to move forward the Bryant University’s PWC Center for Diversity and Inclusion will be altering their training model and will be focusing more heavily on training groups of five-or-more people. This will include students in clubs, teams, offices, departments, or just groups of friends. Getting Safe Zone certified helps identify students who have been trained with up to date knowledge on how to assist those in the LGBTQ community and individuals with their problems. These certifications last up to three years and should be renewed at that time to ensure that you are up to date with your Safe Zone knowledge.

National Coming Out Week was a success on Bryant’s Campus but it’s ever growing on a global scale. If you are interested in learning more about the LGBTQ community or are interested in getting a more diverse understanding of the world feel free to visit the PWC Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Its located on the second floor of the FSC and they always welcome new faces.