Student a ‘fierce’ leading forces for campus awareness

Kendra Pring, left, founder of American River College's Fierce, an organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students, at a Fierce meeting on Feb. 27. (Photo by Bryce Fraser)

On a cold and cloudy Friday afternoon, Kinda Pring was in a light-hearted mood.

But her mind was focused.

It was just another meeting day for Pring, who has been working with American River College for three years now.

She is the founder and president of Fierce – the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered student organization on campus.

“It’s an informal meeting today,” Pring reminded those in attendance.

The 21-year-old psychology major is a strong, calming figure on the American River College campus.

Before Pring founded Fierce, she was a candidate for Associated Student Body President in spring of 2011. Pring lost the election to Craig Bundy, a result decided by a single vote. Despite losing the election, Pring has no hard feelings about the result, and joked about how she predicted it.

“I remember actually telling myself, ‘If I lose, I want to lose by one vote,’ because then I’ll know I tried,” Pring said. “It was a lot less funny when I actually lost by one vote.”

Anthropology professor Kristina Casper-Denman, who serves as advisor for both the anthropology club and Fierce, has a close connection to both students.

“I helped with those elections… Craig Bundy is a former student of mine,” Casper-Denman said. “I know if Kindra had won, she would have been a force to be reckoned with at ARC.”

The Fierce meeting continued calmly on that Friday afternoon.

Pring and the other members joke while they discuss the future of Fierce itself, faced with the possibility of Pring leaving to focus on work. Luckily for Pring, coming into financial security has allowed her to continue with her duties as president.

Pring also reflects on the recent ruling on Prop. 8 in California, where a federal appeals court deemed it unconstitutional.

“I’m very happy about it,” Pring said. “It’s not over… but I think it’s a big step towards marriage equality. With people becoming increasingly supportive of it, it makes me excited to see it go forward even more with so much support from the courts.”

After losing the election, Pring decided to focus her attention on establishing a new LGBT club on the ARC campus. She started the club with her friend and eventual Vice President of Fierce, Jenny Heath.

“Fierce began with Kindra and me discussing how we wanted to contribute to ARC,” Heath said, “We then decided that we wanted to start a (Gay Straight Alliance) for ARC. Kindra came up with the name ‘Fierce’ through southern GSA’s who commonly called their LGBT clubs and organizations ‘Fierce.’”

Pring has been working to raise LGBT awareness at ARC. She says that she is very pleased with the increased awareness on Los Rios campuses, with a LGBT Panel at Raef Hall on March 8 and the LGBT conference at Sacramento City College on March 16.

“I think it’s fantastic,” Pring said, “I think that shows a lot of initiative on the part of our GSA’s to become more active, and to work closer with each other to make LGBT a bigger issue on all of our campuses.”

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