Story by Collene Lewis
MSU Denver is becoming a more inclusive place to learn, thanks to the commitment of LGBTQ allied students, faculty and staff.
The 18th annual High Tea, Sept. 17, awarded eight individuals Ally of the Year for their dedication to equal rights across the Auraria campus.
The Office of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Student Services at Auraria (GLBTSS) organizes the High Tea every year to publicly honor allies for promoting acceptance and diversity on campus.
Those attending the High Tea were served scones and tea in glass mugs. They were serenaded by a quartet comprised of students and alumni.
Since 1995, The GLBTSS office has never failed to celebrate those who aid LGBTQ people at Auraria. In addition, the GLBTSS office also provides support, education and advocacy services on LGBT equality to the entire campus.
The services provided through the GLBTSS office and the dedication of allies contributes to making MSU Denver and UCD two of the 100 best campuses for LGBT students, according to the Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students.
Allies expand the definition of acceptance and the High Tea is a way to celebrate the progress that the campus has made in accepting people of all identities, said Steve Willich, director of the GLBTSS office.
“We hold the ceremony to honor the allies to our community, those who work to support the LGBTQ community here on campus through their voice and their actions,” Willich said.
Attendees at the High Tea agreed. Nicholas DeFore, a psychology student, said that it was important to show gratitude toward allies, such as teachers who bring in staff from the GLBTSS office to speak with students on transgender issues. The High Tea was “giving back to those who give,” he said.
Because of this positive impact, the High Tea is one of the more important events that the GLBTSS office hosts, according to GLBTSS staff member and computer engineering major, Cara Holmes. Not only does it build connections between students, faculty and staff of MSU Denver, but it awards allies for even the seemingly smallest, inclusive actions, such as being receptive to LGBTQ issues.
Holmes has been a part of the office for a long time, and will continue attending events like the High Tea to support the community. As it is an annual event, students, staff and faculty are encouraged to join in the celebration.
“This is our event to say thank you,” Holmes said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere if we didn’t have allies.”