The lobby of the HUB-Robeson Center sported two enormous rainbow balloon arches, rainbow flags and pro-LGBTA posters Monday as part of a “HUB Takeover.” Penn State’s LGBTA Student Coalition and Delta Lambda Phi Fraternity hosted the event to raise awareness for National Coming Out Week and to inform students of events happening all week.
One event participant held a poster proclaiming “Free Gay Hugs” and the “We Are…Penn State” chant was yelled repeatedly, altered to say, “We Are…Not Straight.”
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Ally Student Coalition Co-President Zach Davis (sophomore-women’s studies) said he received only positive responses to the coalition’s presence in the HUB and was delighted to be greeted with many students excited to receive one of his “Free Gay Hugs.”
“The goal of the takeover is to get students pumped up about our events this week, like the rally Wednesday and the candlelight vigil Thursday,” Davis said. “This week is all about encouraging people to come out and be yourself.”
One of the main events promoted at the takeover was the No H8 Campaign’s community service event that will be held Thursday by Delta Lambda Phi in 20 Borland Building from 5 to 7 p.m.
According to the No H8 Campaign’s website, No H8 is a “photographic silent protest” that opposes Proposition 8, which amended the California state constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
“The No H8 Campaign event is free; you show up wearing white, and we’ll have a photographer there who will take your picture with duct tape over your mouth, representing the silenced voices of the LGBTA community,” Quincy Henderson (senior-petroleum and natural gas engineering), social and outreach chair for Delta Lambda Phi, said.
LGBTA Student Coalition Co-President Spencer Paret (sophomore-engineering) said the organization wants to show its presence around campus.
“Of all the queer organizations at Penn State, LGBTA gets the most media coverage and has the most events,” he said. “We want to demonstrate our presence at the school and let everyone know we’re not going to sit around quietly, we’re going to speak out.”
Formerly a member of the Rainbow Alliance at the Penn State Berks Campus, Lauren Seiders (senior-biology) said she got involved in the coalition because she wanted to be a part of the LGBTA community at University Park as well. This is her first year participating in the HUB Takeover, and she said she liked that National Coming Out week promoted “being out and being yourself.”
The takeover’s goal in addition to raising awareness was also to promote Ally 101, a mission that was created by Penn State students.
“We want people to know that you can be an ally even if you’re not LGBTQ yourself; you can be supportive in more ways than one,” Aly Motah (senior-food science), last year’s LGBTA Student Coalition co-president, said.