UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Alan Toussaint, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Pride specialist, places the LGBTQIA+ flag for Pride Month at UWRF’s Rodli Hall.
June 1, 2022 – Four flags will fly throughout the month of June celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies at Rodli Hall at University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
The Pride flag was placed today outside Rodli Hall where the university’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) Office and Pride Center is located in Rooms 269 and 269A, respectively. The Transgender, Non-Binary and Pansexual flags will be added later this week.
June is Pride Month, honoring the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Uprising was the tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the U.S. The first Pride march was held in New York City on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising.
“One of the reasons to have flags up outside Rodli Hall and throughout campus is to provide a sense of belonging for students, staff and faculty and build a sense of community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Queer, Intersex, Asexual plus folks not only on campus but also from River Falls,” said Alan Toussaint, DIB Pride specialist.
“It is also a great time to increase awareness for students to know we are a safe and inviting community,” Toussaint added.
On Thursday, June 16, from 3 to 5 p.m. DIB will hold a “Sweet as Pride” event at the Pride Center and DIB space in Rodli Hall. There will be historical information on the LGBTQIA+ community and information on Pride Month events in the area including Eau Claire on Saturday, June 11, in Phoenix Park and the Twin Cities Pride Festival Saturday-Sunday, June 25-26, in Loring Park.
Campus and community members are invited to tour the DIB space, learn about the resources available and enjoy some refreshments at “Sweet as Pride.”
“It’s to build more community,” Derek Bradley, DIB director, said of the event. “We want to get as many people as possible aware of our resources and to meet the staff.”
Resources available include Freddy’s Pantry, a food shelf near the DIB Office. Those attending will also learn about the Living and Learning Community that is gender-inclusive, the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and Journey House, which provides a spiritual place for students, including shelter, food and personal items.
Staff members will also explain name change forms available for students to allow for the use of their preferred names. Bias incident and violence reporting forms will also be explained.
Celebrating Pride is about celebrating being able to be oneself and being confident in yourself, Bradley said.
Bradley started working at UWRF in March. Bradley wanted to come to the university to be able to lead the DIB Office and assist students in finding their purpose and improve diversity, equity and inclusion both on campus and in the community.
“I want students to learn how to leave a legacy on campus,” Bradley said. “It helps their motivation increase, builds leadership and creates opportunities for the students.”
Bradley earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif., a master’s degree in higher education leadership from Sacramento State University and is working on a doctorate in educational leadership in pre-K to community college at the same college.
Toussaint started working at UWRF a month ago because of an interest in working with marginalized students and the LGBTQIA+ community.
Toussaint most recently worked as an interim program coordinator for the LGBTQIA+ community at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota. Toussaint has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Florida and a master’s in English from St. Cloud State.