To celebrate the official unveiling of its new initiative, Honors Carolina PRIDE will be hosting a launch party to coincide with National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. The event will take place from noon until 2 p.m. in the Graham Memorial Lounge.
“One of our core values in Honors Carolina is to build open communities for students,” Jason Clemmons, director of curriculum, recruitment and operations for Honors Carolina, said in an email. “A few months ago, I started thinking about how best to create a space that would serve our LGBTQ+ population. What could we offer that would be unique, meaningful and engaging?“
The answer came to Clemmons this summer, he said, when Honors Carolina unveiled its new Go Anywhere Platform — an online forum used to connect students with peers, alumni, career coaches and work opportunities. Using this platform, Honors Carolina hopes to create specialized groups within its program.
The newest of these groups, Honors Carolina PRIDE, will offer a mix of services ranging from small-group conversations to alumni panels and networking receptions.
“It’s a good reminder for those of us who are not a part of the LGBTQ+ community that we have so much privilege simply by identifying as heterosexual,” Savannah Newton, a junior in the Honors Carolina program, said.
The initiative is intended to provide LGBTQ+ students and allies a safe community where they can express themselves and engage in an open dialogue regarding gender, sexual identity, expression and marginalization.
“My hope is that Honors PRIDE will give LGBTQ+ students in the Honors program role models to look up to, companies to feel safe in and opportunities to help future queer students feel at home at Carolina,” said Michael Byrd, a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a sophomore in Honors Carolina.
This fall, the program plans to host alumni guest speakers involved in finance, consulting, health care, non-profit organizations and the tech industry. There will also be an alumni panel focused solely on community involvement.
The program is currently home to 45 members and counting.
“Helping to establish Honors Carolina PRIDE has been both professionally and personally fulfilling for me,” Clemmons said in the email. “As a Carolina alum and member of the LGBTQ+ community, I recognize the importance of providing spaces for our students to be themselves, feel supported and meet others whose stories and experiences reflect their own.”
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