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PrismND continues to support LGBT community

| Thursday, August 31, 2017

This academic year, PrismND — Notre Dame’s first official LGBT and ally organization — aims to continue its mission of trying to help the campus experience of students in the LGBT community.

“We try to help those students improve their Notre Dame experience and advocate for them,” senior Baylea Williams, PrismND’s president, said.

Senior Kelly Valenzi, the organization’s vice president and Diversity Council representative, added that PrismND seeks to be a social space as well.

“We are a closed door and safe space for closeted and not-out students for some social interaction with their community,” Valenzi said.

PrismND offers a wide range of activities for its members, such as weekly “hangouts” to give members an opportunity to be social with each other and eat food. The organization’s officers hold weekly office hours for students to come and talk about any problems they are facing.

They are also planning meetings designed to help the group’s committees brainstorm ideas for events. Additionally, PrismND puts on panels, such as an upcoming discussion on what it is like to come out of the closet.

The group is not a political organization, Williams said. Instead, it is mostly concerned with actions of the administration and the administration’s policy on campus.

“PrismND is not political,” she said. “We don’t hold events that are geared towards political parties. For example, we had no part in the protests regarding the Commencement speaker [Vice President Mike Pence].”

Williams described the four committees that make up the basic structure of the wider organization: The Social Committee is in charge of events meant “to instill camaraderie” and attract new members. The Spirituality Committee seeks to develop the faith aspect of the PrismND community, including through LGBT masses on campus. The Diversity and Allyship Committee works to highlight the intersectionality of the Notre Dame community. Finally, the Service Committee examines how the South Bend community and beyond can be “reached out to and helped out.”

Regarding plans for the coming academic years, Valenzi said they are not working with the administration on any big issues but are planning collaborative efforts with other student groups.

“We’re planning collaboration with student government and Saint Mary’s LGBT organization, SAGA,” she said. “One of our goals for the year is to increase work with other student groups.”

For more information, email prismnd@nd.edu.

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