Promoting Their Presence

Gay-Straight Alliance plans events for next year to gain increased presence in hopes of inviting more members, raising more funds

Mikaela Alvarez, Reporter

Expo marker in hand, junior and GSA president Haley Crane stands at the front of the classroom, directing the conversation. Meanwhile, giggles fill the room as students pull out blank papers, writing utensils and participate in today’s icebreaker. Asked to close their eyes and try to draw a subject, the result was nothing short of hilarious drawings and all-around laughter as members compared drawings, seeing the best and the worst.

“An icebreaker is something we do to help new members get comfortable and familiar with the group,” Crane said. “[They did] the blind drawing challenge. We try to do them often so we can make new members feel welcome so they’ll come back for future meetings.”

The GSA has been providing a safe space for LGBTQ students, and they’ve helped build relations between all students regardless of sexuality. However, a current trend of declining membership has prompted Crane to make efforts to increase membership and involvement in the community.

“The club is fairly small, consisting of about 15 or so people,” freshman and member Susana Alberto said. “So far, we’ve helped out at the suicide prevention walk and have been discussing on doing some other exciting things but haven’t been able to do so due to lack of members and/or money. So until then,

we are working on getting other people to join and get to know more about each other.”

According to Crane, the decline in membership was in part due to the graduation of over half the members last year, but also that awareness of the club’s existence and purpose has dropped.

“We’re not as active as we once were, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that no one really knows what GSA stands for or what we do nowadays,” Crane said. “I think [students] assume it’s only for kids who identify as LGBTQ but that’s not true. It’s for everyone to come and make friends and have a place where everyone can understand each other.”

The current leaders of GSA are making plans to get more involved. They’re making plans for a fundraiser at the start of next year, to help raise funds and awareness for the club. Although they’ve fundraised before, they want to reform their methods.

“We’ve wanted to do a fundraiser before, but there is a lot of work that goes into making that happen and we figured that it was too late into the year to try,” Crane said. “We want to be more involved, we want people to know who we are, and for them to want to come.”

Crane said that the fundraiser might focus on fashion, like t-shirts or flower crowns instead of relying on selling food. The club is updating the club board located in the lower C wing near the end of the school, with current information, such as a frequently asked questions board and information about helplines for students who are in need of urgent help.

“We are planning on using our sponsor’s glass case in the hallway to showcase our member’s thoughts and experiences of [and] in the club as well as decorate it really flashy,” freshman Susana Alberto said. “I sure hope it will be successful. I don’t make many suggestions but so far I have been on board with all of their ideas.”

GSA also wants to go around and ask students their opinion on the club to see why students might not be attending. The leaders would like to also know what might interest the students enough to attend the club. They hope that they can build a new plan based on this information.

“It is important to receive feedback from people so we know how to improve our club,” Crane said. “Outside opinions let us know how to better our club and the way people view it. If we can create a better club we will have more outside acceptance from the school staff.”

GSA is currently planning their end of year event, which is a 1960’s themed party, where there will be, a costume contest, a photo booth, dances, and games. The banquet will be on May 24 and will be located in the lecture hall. Flyers will be put up around the school for more information. Everyone is welcome to attend, even non-members.

“I’m very excited for the banquet because it’ll be our own version of Woodstock,” Crane said. “We’re going to have music and a costume contest all 60’s themed. We will also be watching Scooby-Doo is the background to stick with the theme