Q Center, summer 2023
The 8th Annual Lavender Celebration
The Q Center’s 8th annual Lavender Celebration and Pride Awards Ceremony was held Saturday, April 29, in the C4 multipurpose room. Over 60 LGBTQ+-identifying graduates were in attendance for an intimate ceremony recognizing the accomplishments and persistence of our undergraduate and graduate students toward earning their degrees at the larger campus Commencement ceremonies. Karen Jones, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, and Donald Hall, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, provided opening remarks to the audience. Wren Evans ‘23 provided the graduate address and Garrett Imbrenda Politano ’13, LMSW ‘15, senior counselor in the University Counseling Center, provided the keynote address. In total, 95 queer graduating students were presented with a rainbow cord either at the formal ceremony or prior to Commencement.
The Pride Awards Ceremony recognized five graduates for their contributions to cultivating and strengthening queer community on campus. Tina Chronopoulos, associate professor in the Middle Eastern and Ancient Mediterranean Studies Department, received the Faculty/Staff Advocacy in Action award for her valuable work in leading the Honors and Scholars LGBTQ+ Affinity Group and providing counsel and support for students during her weekly office hours in the Q Center.
Pride Flag raising and Pride Month events
The Q Center and the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion hosted an inaugural Pride Flag Raising Ceremony Thursday, June 1. This ceremony marked the second consecutive year the Progress Pride Flag has been raised on campus to commemorate LGBTQ+ pride throughout the month of June. Nicole Sirju-Johnson, assistant vice president for diversity; Donald Hall, executive vice president for academic affairs and provost; and Paola Mignone, assistant vice president for residential experiences, provided brief remarks prior to the raising of the Progress Pride Flag beside The Union and facing the Lois Bl DeFleur Walkway.
Additional Pride Month events included an Active Ally workshop and a Pride Picnic on the Peace Quad to conclude the month. The Q Center and the University’s LGBTQIA+ faculty and staff group were present at both local community pride events, the Pride of Binghamton’s Pride Party and the Binghamton Pride Coalition’s Pride Palooza to engage with numerous greater Binghamton community members. This was the first summer that the Q Center hosted Pride Month events on campus and represents the start of new traditions for faculty, staff and students to participate in during the quieter summer months.
New and continuing partnerships
In early April, Q Center Assistant Director Nick Martin presented at the Social Work Program’s Field Appreciation Day, engaging with more than 40 local social workers to strengthen future partnerships. The same week, Q Center Coordinator Aiden Braun led a talk for the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity Dialogue series highlighting the LGBTQIA+ community’s needs in business settings. Over 40 local businesses participate in the DEI cohort that attends the monthly Diversity Dialogue sessions.
Martin continued to serve on the Bias Incident Response Team and the Strategic Priority 3 Road Map committee. Off-campus, Martin became a representative on NYS Sen. Lea Webb’s Civil Rights Issue Council and joined the NYS Hate and Bias Prevention Southern Tier Regional Council. Q Center Coordinator Aiden Braun served on the Pathways to Inclusive Leadership Committee, the UDiversity coordinator Search Committee and the Distinguished Speaker Series Committee.
Campus educational initiatives
Q Center Coordinator Aiden Braun facilitated two Active Ally Level 1 workshops, including a summer offering tailored to those who could not attend a session during the spring semester. More than 20 students, staff, faculty and community members attended these sessions to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community and how to take action in their allyship. The Q Center professional staff have also facilitated tailored workshops for professional and student staff in Decker Student Health Services, the Binghamton Enrichment Program and Binghamton Upward Bound. Collectively, these workshops were attended by over 70 students and staff across the campus. Q Center professional staff also facilitated a two-part workshop for the Students of Concern Committee, comprises of approximately 25 faculty and staff representing many student support offices on campus.
National Day of Silence
Q Center staff and student interns observed GLSEN’s National Day of Silence Friday, April 14, in support of LGBTQ+ students nationwide whose voices often go unheard. Interns from the center’s SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression) peer educator team tabled during the preceding week to distribute materials informing the campus community of the day and help students communicate their vow of silence to professors, peers and others. To conclude the day, Braun and student leaders led a breaking-of-the-silence activity; students joined together outside with noisemakers to symbolically break their vow, discussed the day and its parallels to their own experience, and used chalk paint to decorate the Lois Bl DeFleur Walkway with inspirational messages. An estimated 50 students participated in the day’s activities.