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SMC student receives LGBTQ alumni club scholarship

| Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Saint Mary’s junior Morgan Haney is one of the recipients of a scholarship from the Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s (GALA).

The mission of GALA is to create a future where no one is discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Haney said in an email that the scholarship award is offered to LGBT students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s.

“GALA ND/SMC, the Gay and Lesbian Alumni/ae Association of Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s, offers a scholarship for current Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) undergraduate students at Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I believe it started in 2015 as this is the third time it has been awarded to students.”

Haney said the scholarship provides financial support to students who identify as LGBT, thanks to the contributions of the donors of GALA.

“The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial assistance and support to full-time undergraduate students who identify within the LGBTQ community,” she said. “This scholarship is funded by the monetary contributions from GALA members and friends.”

Haney said the scholarship assists recipients financially, which then allows them to positively impact their campus communities.

“The intention is that this scholarship will assist the recipients with reducing the financial costs incurred while pursuing their education as well as allow them to make a positive impact at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s College and/or the South Bend community, as LGBT students often face barriers in their education that other students may not,” she said.

Haney said organizations such as PRISM and SAGA are proof of the great strides Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s have made towards accepting LGBT students —however, there is a still a long way to go.

“A feeling of belonging and acceptance is always a challenge LGBT students face across the campuses,” she said.

Haney said she is working on a community service project to teach life skills to LGBT youth in the South Bend area.

“My community service project is to create a workshop teaching life skills for the LGBT Center,” she said. “Some of the curriculum I would like to include would be budgeting, getting insurance, and finding resources/organizations in the South Bend area.”

Haney said her ambition comes from fellow LGBT youth who have become homeless as a result of coming out to their families. Haney became self-supportive at age 19 after coming out to her family, and she said her personal involvement is the driving force behind her mission to provide resources to local LGBT youth.

“I personally wanted to provide resources and assistance to LGBT youth who have found themselves homeless as a result of their sexual orientation,” she said. “Coming out to family does not always go well and many LGBT youth face rejection. I, myself, had to become self-supportive at the age of 19 as a result of coming out to family. I want don’t want other LGBT youth to feel the fear and isolation that I felt.”

Haney said her future plans include graduating early and pursuing a Ph.D. at Northwestern University.

“As for future plans, I will be graduating a semester early, so the fall of 2017,” she said. “My goal is to get into the JD-Ph.D. program at Northwestern and study forensic psychology.”

Haney said she would also like to encourage more clubs to host all-age LGBT events, as at these events, Haney was able to meet new people and feel more accepted in the community.

“I am not a member of SAGA at Saint Mary’s, but I know they have worked really hard to put on events and panels to help spread acceptance,” she said. “I think it would be beneficial to spread the LGBT events that go on in South Bend. South Bend is a unique place, as there are fun social events people can go to put on by the LGBT community. There are GGB events, Gorilla Gay Bar, once a month for those who are 21 and older. There are drag shows every Saturday. SAGA can’t advertise events due to campus rules, but maybe Saint Mary’s could work with South Bend organizations to start having more all-ages events.

“Once I started going to those events, I found wonderful people that made me feel personally accepted.”

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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a senior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She's the co-editor of the Investigative Unit, a Saint Mary's social media liaison, and she occasionally writes for SMC News and Scene. Gina is a tried and true Midwesterner and yes, she does say "ope" often.

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