The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Spectrum has successful first year on campus


ectrum, St. John’s University’s first LGBTQ group, was a success, according to one of the group’s founding members and president, Oscar Diaz.

Diaz said the reception that the group has received from students, faculty and alumni has been a positive one, and this is shown by Spectrum’s participation in several University-wide events.

They started the year by participating in University Service Day on Sept. 27, and held an Ugly Sweater Party as part of the university’s week of Winter Carnival events.

They will also be participating in Relay for Life later in the spring.

“We are looking forward to participating in all University-wide events, we are very excited,” Diaz said.

Thanks to the exposure they received at these events, Spectrum has been able to make strides when it comes to holding more events and developing opportunities for students, according to Diaz. Overall, the group held 12 events last semester, not counting monthly ‘How Ya Doin’?’ meetings that are meant to provide a safe space for students to discuss and share their experiences.

Another consistent program that Spectrum has worked to develop is SafeZone training, which they were able to officially re-launch this semester. According to Diaz, the program was started in 2009 but went stagnant soon after its inception.

Spectrum took a deeper look at the program and “re-launched [SafeZone] after reevaluating, updating and reviving the trainings,” Diaz said.

The group will continue to expand on its SafeZone training program by offering training sessions to other campus groups. Diaz said the next groups to receive training would be Residence Life staff, athletics staff and athletic peer mentors.

They are also exploring the idea of implementing the training into the 5 Star Greek Life requirements, which Diaz said would determine how much funding they would receive for their organization. The more training they have to round out their organization, the more stars they get, and thus, more funding.     

Diaz said that the group is currently in the process of planning their second facilitator training with hopes of it being held in April some time after Easter recess.

One of Spectrum’s most successful events was a poetry reading featuring Saeed Jones, the Buzzfeed LGBT editor.

“He is leading the way and writing critically about the community,” Diaz said.

The event was also Spectrum’s Black History Month event.

Dean of Students Dr. Danny Trujillo said that the group has put forth a “fantastic, significant effort” in all they’ve done this year.

He said one of their most notable achievements was re-launching the SafeZone program, along with getting their message heard on campus.

“They’ve really been getting their main pillars out there, and without their commitment that would have been impossible. They started from the ground up,” Trujillo said.

Trujillo also explained the importance of Spectrum’s partnership with Campus Ministry.

“It’s very important and significant. It provides support for students and they appreciate that,” he said.

Going forward, Spectrum hopes to continue to hold monthly meetings and events, and will hold elections for new executive board members soon.

“We will continue to develop. As president, I tried to develop student leaders. They have the experience, and [Spectrum] will only grow,” Diaz said.

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Talia Tirella, Co-Editor-in-Chief
Co-Editor-in-Chief: Talia is a senior Journalism major/Government & Politics minor who intends to make the Torch an open organization, to expand our staff writing team and readership, and to grow the Torch as a professional organization.   [email protected]
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