Walking into one of the club rooms on a recent afternoon in the Student Center, students are welcomed by bright colors and eye-catching prizes, like a Morphe brush kit and flamingo socks. Students share laughs and closely examine their bingo mats hoping to get five in a row. In the center of it all sits the lovely drag queen, Madam Sass C., gracefully cranking the wheel of the bingo cage.
The Center for Leadership and Development partnered with the American River College Pride Center to host a Drag Bingo event with Madam Sass C. on Sept. 3, during the Weeks of Welcome Extravaganza (WOW).
According to Mario Alejandro Rodriguez, student personnel assistant, WOW was designed by the CLD to welcome new students to ARC. It was launched as a program pilot that ran for a total of three weeks. The Drag Bingo event happened during the third week.
“I partnered with the Pride Center and said let’s collaborate, let’s do something fun and exciting, so we decided to bridge WOW with the Pride Center and do Drag Bingo,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a partnership with two different departments and offices to welcome our students.”
Rodriguez, a new staff member of the CLD, said he identifies with the LGBTQIA+ community himself and that it’s important for students to see that representation in leadership positions on campus.
“Sometimes you can just go to class and go home, and not know that there’s a resource. I think we’re improving, but visibility is always a thing with any marginalized community,” Rodriguez said. “When you’re new, you wouldn’t know this is available. That’s why we do events like this.”
The colorful event brought in roughly 30 students that attend ARC. Computer science major Sasha Zabegalin said the most important part of attending events like this is to connect with other members of the community and LGBTQIA+ allies.
“I’ve been going here for a year and I know the coordinators,” Zabegalin said. “I wanted to see who’s around ARC because there’s always new people. Then you know who you can be friends with, and who you feel safe with.”
Welding major Cayde Poley said he attended the event because his first experience with the Pride Center made him and his partner feel welcome.
“I like the resources that they offer,” Poley said. “I dropped in to take a look with my boyfriend, and he was able to get information there that he wasn’t able to get anywhere else. It’s a really nice place.”
Previous weeks of WOW included giveaways of free food, like popcorn, ice cream and pizza. The Pride Center and CLD also hosted a movie night. Rodriguez said that it’s important to host events like this in the beginning of the school year so LGBTQIA+ students can be informed about resources and programs available to them.
According to the ARC website, the Pride Center helps connect students with supportive programs, groups and organizations on campus, like the UNITE Community & Diversity Center, Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), Transcendence Group and Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPOC).
The Pride Center also facilitates ally trainings on campus to help students gain a better understanding of gender and sexual identity development and the challenges LGBTQIA+ students may face on campus.
For more information about LGBTQIA+ resources on campus visit https://www.arc.losrios.edu/student-resources/student-support-services/equity-programs-and-pathways/pride-center, or visit the Pride Center on campus located in the Student Center HUB, and ask to speak with a student personnel assistant.