CCBC’s Rainbow Club offers inclusivity and support for LGBTQ+ students on campus. With meetings every Wednesday, the club provides a place for LGBTQ+ students to discuss important issues in the LGBTQ+ community, share personal experiences, and even push for important changes on campus.
“I think the Rainbow Club has been an important presence on our campus, giving LGBTQ students a greater sense of community and acceptance,” said Dr. Morgan Slusher, CCBC professor of Psychology and Rainbow Club Faculty Advisor. “At the Get Involved Fair, it’s not unusual for students to come up to our table and say how glad there are to see that a group like the RC exists at CCBC.”
Dr. Slusher also expresses that the Rainbow Club has made an impact on campus, advocating for improvements on inclusivity and accommodation for LGBTQ+ students. “The Rainbow Club has also been a forum where students can make their concerns known...The recent changes at CCBC concerning students’ preferred names - with a form available for students to register their preferred name with the college, along with a policy requiring faculty to use preferred names - came out of a discussion at a Rainbow Club meeting where students expressed that they were having troubles around this issue,” he shares.
The Rainbow Club doesn’t just aid students in creating changes across campus, it’s also an excellent way to simply make friends and find a place where you feel comfortable enough to truly be yourself. “My first meeting at The Rainbow Club made me feel like I wasn't alone,” Club Secretary Dani Ciscell said. “There were a surprising amount of people who identified just like me. That was a first for me.”
Having a community on campus where you can find solidarity, support and friendship is vital for many LGBTQ+ students. CCBC is one of the many campuses today that has a community like that, although previous generations were not as fortunate. “I was an undergraduate in college in the 1970’s in rural Missouri, and certainly there was no support or even awareness of the needs, or perhaps even the existence of, LGBTQ+ students,” states Dr. Slusher.
Today, The Rainbow Club offers the support previous generations may have not been able to find on campus. “The Rainbow Club can help students by providing social support, educational resources and an opportunity for self-expression, both within the group and to the larger CCBC community,” says Dr. Slusher.
Joanna Ahmed, President of The Rainbow Club, urges LGBTQ+ students, and even allies, to participate in the club if they are in search of a place to both make friends and make a difference. “Join...Even if you are not queer, be an ally. You’ll find a family and people who love you, and you’ll learn about the issues happening in the LGBTQ+ community,” said Ahmed.
Club member Aiyonna Range concurs, expressing that joining the club will provide you with a place where you can be yourself and be at home. “Don’t be afraid to speak your mind,” she said. “Come with an open heart. Freely be yourself.”
The club meets every Wednesday on Essex’s campus.