Ally Week has ended on campus. A series of events hosted by The Queer Resource Center and EROS, Ally Week sees the raising of rainbow pride flags across campus, as well as a blossoming of chalk messages that are intended to encourage respect of sexualities and LGBTQQI students. Many of the events have grown in popularity over recent years, and have become well worn traditions for groups of friends in all circles.
These messages are nothing too profound. They are simple exclamations and jokey rhymes that might boost the confidence of queer people, especially if they’re struggling as all college students do at some point. If just one person has been helped by the messages, then they have served their purpose.
Students who were present in the fall of 2014 might remember a particularly pervasive bout of water-bottle splashes that were evidently intended to wash the chalk away. These obfuscations might have continued had a rainstorm not washed the messages away in their entirety only a few days into the week. This was the age of Yik Yak: when just about everyone was checking in on the anonymous mass of Trinity College’s student body. The app amplified many hateful voices during that Ally Week, but has since fallen largely out of popularity.
There has been improvement in the campus environment for LGBTQQI students, even since 2014. And though that time has not been without its difficulties and opposing forces, this most recent week marks a high point for that environment. Well chosen events and careful coordination ensured that the week ran smoothly. More important was the prominence of Ally Week on campus: Large numbers of students from all walks of campus life participated.
Encouraging diversity, positivity and above all, understanding among Trinity’s student population is essential to the growth of the College. It remains the opinion of this publication that a greater campus discourse needs to be achieved on LGBTQQI issues. But the improvement and successes of Ally Week prove that ground has indeed been covered, and that Trinity is moving toward a more accepting future.
Optimistically, the environment of acceptance that was brought about during Ally Week will not disappear after the rainbows are lowered and the chalk washes away.