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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Pride Awards honor LGBT community

Allies and members of the LGBT community gathered in the Kirkhof Center at Grand Valley State University on Tuesday for the second annual Pride Awards to celebrate and honor people who have positively impacted the LGBT community.

The LGBT Resource Center’s staff presented nine different awards to students, faculty and staff who have been involved in this year’s events and LGBT groups such as Loud and Queer and First-Year Queer Alliance.

Carrie Simmons, LGBT Resource Center program coordinator, presented the Ally of the Year Award to Rhonda LeMieux. LeMieux is the student services assistant at the Dean of Students Office, and she is a trainer in the center’s Allies and Advocates program. Simmons and LeMieux trained more than 500 students last year and expressed the need to expand.

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Nathan Bentley (left) and his boyfriend Jacob Guajardo (right), perform a song at the Pride Awards about what being gay means to them. GVL / Hannah Mico
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Quey Hunt performed to Lady Gaga at the conclusion of the pride awards, partly in honor of the late Professor Milt Ford. GVL / Hannah Mico

“There is a continuing need for the Ally and Advocate program,” LeMieux said. “The journey is ever-growing.”

Lindsay Greyerbiehl, a graduate assistant at the LGBT Resource Center, presented the Ambassador of the Year Award to GVSU student Andrew Collier. Collier has been involved in many of the center’s events, such as the recent Wear the Rainbow clothing swap. In addition, he has given several presentations for different classes at the university.

Greyerbiehl said the Ambassador Program “seeks to build connections with students,” and she added that Collier is “always being responsive” and has a “consistent presence and passion” when he attends or volunteers at LGBT events.

Two students received the Outstanding Student Award. Rachael Blansett took one for her commitment to social justice in the community. Blansett is a third-year communications student, a published journalist, an LGBT Ambassador and co-creator of Loud and Queer. She has also participated in the Change U sessions.

“She is not sitting at home waiting for the revolution,” said Emily West, LGBT Resource Center grant coordinator. “She is the revolution.”

Greyerbiehl gave Tyler Stringer the second Outstanding Student Award. Stringer was a member of the First-Year Queer Alliance and the Ambassador Program. He is also the social media representative for the LGBT Resource Center. Greyerbiehl said he is concerned with “creating a welcoming space for students at the center.”

Other awards presented included the Dedicated Faculty Award, the Solidarity Award, the Milt Ford LGBT Leadership Award and the LGBT Resource Center FIERCE Award. The FIERCE Award was dedicated to Milt Ford, the founder of the LGBT Resource Center at GVSU who recently lost his battle with cancer.

For more information about the LGBT Resource Center and its event, visit www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc.

sbrzezinski@lanthorn.com



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