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How Drexel Celebrates Pride Week

Queer Student Union Exec Board
Members of the Queer Student Union Executive Board, from left to right: Violet Collins, events coordinator; Sam Arndell, vice president; Sara Aykit, president and Kimee Model, treasurer.


April 26, 2019

Pride Week is here at Drexel! Leading up to the Drexel Drag Show on Friday, May 3, and The Ball on Saturday, May 4, the Queer Student Union is hosting an event each day of the week. We caught up with Sara Aykit, a senior English major and the president and co-founder of the Queer Student Union, to learn more about the events.

Pride Week 2019 Events

Tell us about the inspiration behind Drexel Pride Week.

I think the purpose of any Pride event is that famous chant, “We’re here and we’re queer.” We want to make room on Drexel’s campus for conversations about the experiences of queer people, and to let the voices of our community be heard. Throughout the week, we will celebrate the beauty and strength of queer people everywhere but especially at Drexel, by centering many different queer experiences in all areas of our lives. At our events like our Open Mic Night, or the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion’s Ball, we can be as loud and proud as we want to be.

Any event that you are particularly excited about?

I am most excited for our event on Monday: the Out and Open Mic Night. We are co-hosting this event with the Drexel Black Action Committee and the Drexel Socialists. Our open mic nights are always filled with amazing creativity from our members through music, writing and art, and for this event, we will also be offering pizza and raffle tickets at the price of a suggested donation. One-hundred percent of the money we raise will be donated to a local Philadelphia nonprofit, The Bread and Roses Community Fund. This event will be a fun celebration of the freedom of expression — bring yourself and your friends to enjoy the event and consider performing!

Favorite memory from a previous Pride Week?

My favorite memory is from our first event of last year’s Pride Week. We stood outside next to the Dragon Statue and handed out flyers with our events and social media information. We had a board with multi-colored index cards, and we asked passersby to answer, “What Does Pride Mean to You?” At the end of the event, the board was covered in different answers. I loved that event because it was a little nerve-wracking to stand outside like that, being so open with the world about who we are and for what we stand. I’m proud of how successful that event was, and how good we all felt doing it.

What other kinds of events and activities does the Queer Student Union do throughout the year?

Throughout the year, we have a meeting every week. Our meetings are typically educational, social, activity-based, or a combination of all three! We host discussions about topics relevant to the queer community and teach queer history because there are so few places that do. Also, we try to have a party every term, like our Halloween and “Happy New Queer” parties we’ve had this year.

At two years old, the Queer Student Union is a relatively new organization. How has it evolved during that time?

I feel like we have really gotten our footing on Drexel’s campus regarding who we want to be and what we want to represent. We want to be a safe space for queer students on campus and a representation of the queer community to the rest of Drexel. Next year, our executive board is growing from four members to eight, and I just know that their work will propel our vision of education and inclusion to a whole new level.

Who is the organization open to? How can interested students get involved?

The organization is open to all Drexel students of any identity. The best way to get involved is to sign up on Dragonlink, and we’ll be sure to get you on our mailing list!

Is there anything you would want prospective students to know about being a queer or questioning student at Drexel?

I want them to know that there are people here to support their journey. That their journey might take some time, but that we, the Queer Student Union, and the folks at the Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion, the Office of Equality and Diversity, and the Counseling Center will support them to be the most authentic and comfortable version of themselves. They are not alone, and they are most certainly loved for the fullness of who they are.