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Beacon College Pride Alliance began on campus during the fall semester, after a lapse of a few years. Originally initiated on campus in 2010, this organization has received a resurgence due to high student interest.

The Pride Alliance organization is aimed at promoting tolerance on college communities across the nation. Students Shia Byers, Michael Huey, and Sean Marley collaborated to bring the organization back to Beacon’s campus starting in the fall 2014 semester. As upper class students at Beacon, this small group decided it was important to promote tolerance on campus as a new and diverse group of students begin attending the College. They wanted to help support the needs of these incoming students.

Faculty/staff advisors Learning Specialist Michele Patestides, Assistant Director of Admissions Andrew Marvin, and Professor Brian Ogle, were all happy to lend their support. When a student at Beacon, Andrew Marvin was actually president of Pride Alliance, so he had a strong interest in fulfilling the role of staff advisor. Ogle and Patestides feel passionate about the cause, so they serve as role models for male and female students, respectively.

The mission of the organization is to create a safe space for students of the LGBTQ+ community. This includes students of every sexual orientation, and supporters are welcome to become part of the organization. A significant number of club participants are those simply wanting to show their support and acceptance to this community.

Sean Marley and Michael Huey are the co-presidents, Shia Byers is Communications Director, and Aaron Woods is the Administrative Assistant, and there are about 25 members in total. The organization is hoping to recruit even more new members during the spring Club Fair.

Pride Alliance recently coordinated with PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to walk in the Leesburg Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, February 7th, and there are currently plans in the works to hold an on campus barbeque to raise awareness of the cause.

This organization meets at the Science Lab Fridays at 2pm, and anyone is welcome to attend. Drop by one Friday afternoon and learn more about Pride Alliance and their upcoming plans.

~ Shia Byers & Gretchen Dreimiller
Photos Courtesy of Heather Reed