Suffolk promotes students on Spirit Day

The Queer Student Union (QSU) in collaboration with the Center of Student Diversity and Inclusion (CSDI) hosted their eighth annual Spirit Day Luncheon at Suffolk University on Thursday. Staff and students alike gathered to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community and its allies in speaking out against bullying targeted toward queer youth.

Purple lights illuminated the welcoming and lively Stoll Room, which was packed with more than 100 people. Attendees were encouraged to “go purple,” which meant to wear the color purple as a gesture of support for an inclusive and diverse community at Suffolk. Per tradition, purple Suffolk Pride shirts were given out near the sign-in table.

A series of speeches were given by QSU  President Joe Piemonte and Vice President Kaitlin Hahn, as well as Dr. Margie Arnold, President Marisa Kelly’s wife.

“Suffolk University is a place that truly aspires to ensure that all students have a safe environment free from bullying as you work to reach your personal and professional goals,” said Arnold, “[In viewing the Suffolk University website] I am struck by the diversity of the images and the words I can see and feel the university’s commitment toward fostering an inclusive campus community which individuals are welcome and regardless of sex, race, religion, culture, country of origin, disability status, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Attendees were encouraged to “go purple,” which meant to wear the color purple as a gesture of support for an inclusive and diverse community at Suffolk.”

Jessica Lorenzana, a junior biology major, is a diversity peer educator at the CSDI.

“I think one of the most striking impressions I had of the luncheon was how so many flags from the LGBTQ+ community were hung up, everyone was dressed in purple in support,” said Lorenzana in an interview with The Suffolk Journal. “Margie even made the time to go around the room and was ready to chat with anyone that wanted to talk to her. She was there even when members of QSU and CSDI were starting to pack up.”

Spirit Day, observed on the third Thursday,   October, is dedicated to stand against bullying and raise awareness of bullying-related suicides during National Bullying Prevention month. The holiday started in 2010 as a response to the widely publicized bullying-related suicides by queer students.

Fatima Hashi, a business management major, spoke highly of the luncheon and how acknowledged she felt by Dr. Arnold’s words.

“I was enticed by Dr. Margie’s anecdote about how she excelled in something she was passionate about despite the crude judgments of others,” said Hashi in an interview with The Journal. “It was inspiring to know that Suffolk has an amazing presidential couple that could truly represent our openness and diversity on campus.”

After the series of speeches, the room fell silent as Soulfully Versed, one of Suffolk’s a capella groups, performed “Thinking Out Loud.”  A light lunch soon followed while attendees conversed amongst one another.

“I was appreciative of all the purple I saw and the respective flags representing different sexualities and identities besides the rainbow movement flag,” said Hashi. “I can’t believe this all took place during the activities period hour.”