GLAAD Campus Ambassadors are uniting their peers in celebration of Spirit Day. Across the U.S., these student-activists worked with their university allies to create various on-campus events, programming, and multimedia digital engagements. Together, they are setting a standard for inclusive and intersectional LGBTQ advocacy within and beyond their universities. Learn how they brought Spirit Day to life on campus:
Leah Ciccone - Western Connecticut State University
Campus Ambassador at Western Connecticut State University, Leah Ciccone, engaged her peers by creating an informative and inspiring video about Spirit Day. Leah’s video touches upon her own experience with bullying the importance of spirit in LGBTQ lives.
Check it out:
Kaivon Pearson - University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Organized by the gay-straight alliance club, Uniquely Defined (@udefinedumes), the Campus Ambassador for University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Kaivon Pearson and his peer leaders held a “die-in” on their campus to bring awareness to LGBTQ people who have lost their lives to anti-queer violence and suicide.
The students held pride flags and handmade signs; one sign read, “We Stand in Solidarity with lost & bullied LGBT+ Youth… #SPIRITDAY #UMES.” Some of the protest highlights are featured in the video below.
Uniquely Defined’s Twitter account also went purple in solidarity with Spirit Day and posted images and messages of support throughout the day. One of their most striking posts (below) featured images of students holding signs that told their stories and experiences with anti-queer hate. The tweet that accompanied the images served to remind the viewers that speaking out against hatred saves lives.
— Uniquely Defined (@udefinedumes) October 21, 2016
Patrick Koslecki - Caldwell University
Patrick Koslecki, Campus Ambassador at Caldwell University, spent his morning at Nutley High School in New Jersey, speaking with students about the importance of addressing LGBTQ youth bullying, and supporting LGBTQ communities.
Continuing his day of advocacy, Patrick led Caldwell University’s first official Spirit Day celebration. Advocating for acceptance within his Catholic university, Patrick spoke to a crowd of students and faculty about his experiences as a LGBTQ advocate, gay student, and person of faith. Caldwell promoted their LGBTQ event through all-student emails leading up to Spirit Day, and sent out a letter from Patrick after the event.
Joon Park - Boston College
Joon Park, GLAAD Campus Ambassador at Boston College, took part in Spirit Day 2016 by engaging his LGBTQ & ally peers in a purple photo series. Joon also wrote a blog piece on GLAAD’s Spirit Day blog page entitled, “Boston College students show their support for LGBTQ youth on #SpiritDay”.
In his piece, Joon reflected upon the importance of intersectional LGBTQ allyship. He writes, “As we continue to define allyship and what it means to stand against bullying for queer youth, it’s important that we practice intersectionality and also condemn bullying against queer youth of color and trans and non-binary individuals.”
Christianne Marguerite - Johns Hopkins University
Christianne Marguerite, Campus Ambassador at Johns Hopkins University, worked with her team at the JHU Office of LGBTQ Life to promote Spirit Day on campus and online. Christianne and JHU asked their students to wear purple and take a stand against bullying. The Office of LGBTQ Life also gave out rainbow bracelets to anyone who wore purple. Additionally, the Office of LGBTQ Life turned their Facebook page purple in support of Spirit Day and LGBTQ youth.
Additional Campus Ambassadors #SpiritDay moments:
Leo Thornton - University of Michigan
Priyank Pillai - University of Houston
Nick Mion - University of Pennslyvania
About Spirit Day
Each year, millions of people "go purple" for Spirit Day in a united stand against bullying and to show support for LGBTQ youth. According to a 2015 GLSEN survey, more than half of LGBTQ students report being victimized based on sexual orientation, with a further three quarters of students who report hearing anti-LGBTQ remarks in school. Started in 2010 by high school student Brittany McMillan, Spirit Day now draws the participation of celebrities, corporations, media outlets, sports leagues, schools, faith institutions, national landmarks, and individuals around the world, who join together in a united stand against bullying.
Check out glaad.org/spiritday for more about how to stand against bullying and show support for LGBTQ youth. Also follow @GLAAD on Twitter to keep up to date with #spiritday news.
Spirit Day is made possible by the generous support of its presenting partners Target and Wells Fargo, official partners, NBA and WNBA, NFL, Viacom, and WWE, and supporting partners, American Eagle Outfitters, Barilla, Comcast NBCUniversal, Kellogg’s, Kirkland & Ellis, Toyota Financial Services, and Zipcar. The translation of GLAAD’s Spirit Day Resource Kit into multiple languages is made possible by a generous grant from Google supporting GLAAD’s Global Voices Initiative. Global Spirit Day resource kits are presented by Logo’s Global Ally campaign.
Past participants in Spirit Day include the White House, the Empire State Building, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Cher, Laverne Cox, Kim Kardashian, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Shaquille O'Neal, Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View, The Talk, The Tonight Show, MTV, the NBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball, NASCAR, WWE, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, the Las Vegas Strip, and more.
GLAAD Campus Ambassadors - in their inaugural year - are a volunteer network of LGBTQ and ally college and university students who work with GLAAD and within their local communities to build an LGBTQ movement to accelerate acceptance and end hate and discrimination. If you would like to learn more about the GLAAD Campus Ambassador Program, please contact Clare Kenny— GLAAD Youth Engagement Strategist.