Student engagement hosts first Pride Fest on National Coming Out Day


Students and staff interact at tables at Harper’s Pride Fest on Oct. 11, 2021. Photo by Adriana Briscoe.

Harper’s student engagement division hosted their very first Pride Fest in Building A on Oct. 11, 2021 — National Coming Out Day. 

“We wanted to celebrate our LGBTQIA+ community, have students and employees in the community come together and really create a welcoming environment for all individuals,” said Manager of Student Involvement, Erin Morettes.

The event kicked off with speeches by Assistant Provost Dr. Claudia Mercado and Pride Club President Mitchell Ryba. These were followed by a Pride walk and a yoga class. 

Additionally, Pride Club and various community partners set up tables filled with freebies such as pins, flags, sunglasses, wristbands and more. There were also cupcakes, each iced with one color of the rainbow and arranged in order of the colors of the rainbow. 

According to Morettes, Pride Fest was supposed to take place in June for Pride month on the outdoor pavilion, but it rained on the date it was supposed to happen. Due to Covid-19, Harper wasn’t hosting indoor events at the time, so it got postponed to Oct. 11. 

Coincidentally, it also rained on Oct.11, and the event was moved indoors. However, a little rain on their parade didn’t stop Harper students and staff from celebrating anyway.

“I think our speakers were absolutely wonderful, very inspiring,” Morettes said. “And we had a great support from our community partners, and also just having students who identify, staff who identify, faculty who identify, community members, as well as allies to the pride community really brought it [and] made the event very nice and feeling very supportive and inclusive of all.” 

Team Leader of the Kenneth Young Center, Camille Myers, had a table at the fest and said she appreciated the event. 

“I think a lot of it is being able to come together as a community and be[ing] able to celebrate that together,” Myers said. 

Project Associate of the Kenneth Young Center, Cole Daniels, was grateful that everyone had the opportunity to show their identity.

“Not just this month or June, every month,” Daniels said. “So I think it’s great that we can have events like this and be visible and comfortable and out, so to me it shows that we’ve come a really long way.”