Caitlyn Conville | Contributing Writer
Thanks to the efforts of Bergen PRIDE’s co-advisors, Linda Seidman and Jim Bumgardner, Bergen Community College (BCC) is continuously working towards, according to Seidman, “creating a safer and more welcoming environment for all of our diverse community.”
Seidman and Bumgardner conduct “Safe Space” trainings and LGBTQ+ 101 workshops on campus to ensure that LGBTQ+ individuals have a place to go where they feel “welcome and respected.”
There are “Safe Space Stickers” on doors and work areas across campus to indicate certified safe spaces with one of the over 300 staff and faculty trained by Seidman and Bumgardner.
There are approximately 40 students who attend the Bergen PRIDE meetings, BCC’s official LGBTQ+ Alliance, but there are even more who are a part of the Bergen PRIDE mailing list and who attend events.
Bergen PRIDE events and fundraisers vary from guest speakers to film screenings, but they always support topics of importance to the LGBTQ+ community, including equality, HIV/AIDS awareness and suicide prevention. The Alliance also hosts at least two social gatherings per year, once in the summer and once around the holidays.
Even for those students not on campus, the Virtual LGBTQ+ Center on the BCC website is the one-stop source for locations of certified safe spaces and gender neutral restrooms on campus, LGBTQ+ physical and mental health resources and information about provisional name changes, as well as contact details for allied faculty and staff.
Interested students can attend a Bergen PRIDE meeting in room S-253, every Tuesday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., or visit Bergen PRIDE’s own social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Links can be found on the Virtual LGBTQ+ Center.