Prism Alliance aims for more members
Lansing Community College’s faculty and staff are looking to make strides in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by joining forces with LCC’s Prism Alliance.
The mission of the alliance is to educate, support and empower LCC faculty and staff, and establish a safe environment for all students to live openly and authentically, according to Daniel Thurman, co-chair of the Prism Alliance.
Thurman said it is time for LCC to become more involved in LGBT rights.
“Prior to the Prism Alliance there was no official unit within the college that supported LGBT faculty and staff as well as allies,” Thurman said. “While many would agree LCC is relatively safe, there are many strides we still need to take to become a truly inclusive community.”
The alliance will be working toward several goals, including:
Raising awareness of sexual orientation and gender identity issues across campus;
Advocating for LGBT faculty, staff and students.
According to Thurman, members have finalized framework for the alliance and are expanding the team for college-wide employee membership.
“We will grow as large as the interest is and are expecting to have a substantial membership base,” Thurman said.
Thurman said the alliance is employee-based, but will help support the Student Gay Straight Alliance (GSA).
“We will make sure our efforts are coordinated with the GSA so we can leverage all of our resources in the most appropriate ways possible,” Thurman said. “It was important to the Prism Alliance that we allow the student organization to maintain its student voice.”
Thurman said the alliance will help connect the college community, and bring a diverse and safe environment.
“School teaches us so much more than reading and math skills,” Thurman said. “It teaches us how to be well-rounded individuals who understand the importance of diversity within our communities.
“We hope the Prism Alliance will both directly and indirectly impact those outcomes at our college.”
Thurman said alliance members want to focus on one major initiative to kick things off. The alliance is looking into designing a college-wide Campus Safe Space Training Program.
The Safe Space program would be a welcoming environment for LGBT students and employees, he said.
“We will be conducting extensive sensitivity training for any LCC employee who would like to be certified as a ‘Safe Space Ally,’” Thurman said. “The trainings teach awareness of LGBT issues, ways to support LGBT individuals (and) how to educate others on issues.”
Thurman said he is excited to work with people just as passionate as he is about the new alliance.
“I think people have been waiting for something like this happen for a long time,” Thurman said. “There’s just so much potential for the good work that can be done by this alliance and I’m excited to be a part of something that has generated so much positive energy.”