On admissions tours, Swarthmore’s tour guides often praise the plethora of extracurricular activities Swarthmore has to offer: community service organizations, club and intramural athletics, and of course, a substantial number of groups on campus dedicated to the discussion of, or identification with, a particular aspect of one’s cultural or social identity. The choices, according to tour guides, are seemingly endless: A student can join ENLACE if they identify as Latinx or if they are interested in Latinx culture, SQU if they identify as queer/trans, or SOLIS if they identify as a student from a socioeconomically disadvantaged background, and the list does not stop there. Many of these groups are funded by the college to host events, panel discussions, and other activities designed to promote interest or inform other students, and one specific type of events that often pop up are pride month events. We at the Phoenix feel that the College should be doing more to promote participation and attendance at various pride months’ events because, as it currently stands, many of these activities do not actually achieve their stated purpose of educating and engaging other members of the community.
This sentiment is particularly timely when considering the fact that LatinX heritage month has just come to a close and the SQU-sponsored pride month is about to begin. Despite long hours of planning and hard work at the hands of committee members, and with significant financial resources being spent, a majority of the students in attendance often belong to the club or organization that is sponsoring the event in the first place. This fails to achieve the stated goals of many pride month-style events, because the members of a club or organization do not need to be more aware of the group that is hosting the event; the community at large does. It is not always the fault of the organizing group that their events fail to gain public attention, either. Rather, there should be more administrative support in the publication and advertisement of these events to encourage more community members to attend them.
We at the Phoenix believe that the Dean’s Office, OSE, and other relevant administrative structures should be taking a more active role in promoting and implementing events hosted by organizations like SQU and/or ENLACE. By sending out more frequent communications and helping these groups with event promotion, college administrators should help to make these types of events both more accessible and more enjoyable for the greater campus community.