Pride month is officially ending, but that doesn’t mean the celebration has to! SAMRU’s Pride Centre (PC) aims to celebrate and empower the LGBTQ2S+ community year. This blog post will look at the PC’s history within the Students’ Association and some exciting programming and events coming up for the Fall 2022 semester.
The Pride Centre at SAMRU is dedicated to fostering a safe, inclusive and celebratory environment for people of all genders and sexual orientations. Located on the second floor of Wyckham House Student Centre, the PC provides community support resources, a library, free prophylactics, referrals and in-centre expertise on relationships, identity and sexual health topics. Throughout the Fall and Winter semesters, the PC hosts a variety of exciting programming, events, and workshops!
History of the Pride Centre at SAMRU
Since its inception, the Students’ Association’s (SA) mission has been to represent students’ interests and help them succeed on their post-secondary journeys. In addition to representing all students, the SA has worked to amplify the interests of marginalized students in creative and innovative ways. This work is done through dedicated staff, students, and student clubs passionate about inclusion on campus.
The first LGBTQ2S+ dedicated physical space opened in 2008 after the expansion of Wyckham House. Before creating the Pride Cente, the Students’ Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU), formerly known as the Students’ Association of Mount Royal College (SAMRC), hosted outreach-based programming and events for the LGBTQ2S+ beginning in the mid to late 1990s.
For many years, at least as far back as 1993, SAMRC programmed awareness weeks, similar to Sexpo Week, that included events and activities geared towards educating the campus and community about LGBTQ2S+-related issues and topics. At this point, SAMRC student clubs were also heavily involved in grassroots programming and outreach. One of SAMRU’s most sought-after events, Gender Bender, was started by the Diversity and Womyn in Action clubs in the late 1990s and found a permanent place in the Pride Centre programming.
Through involvement in outreach programming, grassroots student clubs and SAMRC staff decided to write a proposal for a physical centre that could house programming and outreach. The two clubs named in this proposal were the Diversity and Womyn in Action clubs. At the time, these two clubs were the only spaces explicitly created for LGBTQ2S+ students and the community to explore, celebrate and express themselves.
SAMRU student clubs have a lasting legacy for their impact on campus and are instrumental in improving and developing inclusivity on campus. In the mid-1990s, Four Directions Lodge, of which Cultural and Indigenous Inclusion Programmer Cory Cardinal was a student leader, was instrumental in advocating for what became the Native Student Centre (now the Cultural Inclusion Centre) long before the inception of the Iniskim Centre at MRU.
In 2008 the Pride Centre space was established to offer a safe space for students to explore gender and sexual identity while providing awareness, programming, and events that promote positive role-modelling and information available. Through the years, programming has developed through staff and students committed to creating inclusive and interactive environments for the LGB2Q2+ community and their allies.
Pride Centre Services
The Pride Centre is a community space open to everyone Monday to Friday from 10:00am – 4:00pm. We are located on the second floor of Wyckham House in Room Z211.
We offer many services to students, including access to free prophylactics, resources, pronoun buttons and Queer literature. We also have Pride Ambassadors and Queer Peer Volunteers in the Centre who are ready to support and explore any questions you may have. The Pride Centre is a safe and inclusive space that is open for you to study, eat lunch, make friends, or just hang out!
If you’re interested in volunteering with us, check out our volunteer opportunities and sign up!
A Look at Upcoming Pride Centre Programming
*All programs are subject to change
The Rainbow Post is a program that aims to connect 2SLGBTQ+ and Questioning students with community members together as penpals. Penpals are paired by similar interests listed in their bio, and are encouraged to connect with each other over email.
Interested in gaining a penpal friend? Register here!
Wellness Wind Down
The weekly Wellness Wind Down (usually held on Thursdays from 2:30pm – 4:00pm) collaborates with a Queer-safe counsellor and psychologist Dr. Janet Miller from Wellness Services on campus. Students will gather weekly to wind down from the week, chat, and hang out in a supportive setting. Students decide what they need from the space each week they attend and receive support where they are at. This program allows students to connect and feel less alone in their victories and defeats.
Bring your friends, ideas, and conversation and get ready to de-stress with creative crafting! This weekly crafting session is led by a volunteer instructor with supplies from the Pride Centre. Crafternoon takes place on Wednesday afternoons in the Pride Centre (Z211).
Have ideas? We’d love to hear them and are always taking suggestions for DIY crafts!
Live Music Thursdays: Rainbow Edition
A Queer spin on the classic Live Music Thursdays run by SAMRU at West Gate Social, the Rainbow Edition Live Music Thursday was started by a student Pride Ambassador who wanted a fun Pride event where students could connect outside of the Pride Centre. Featuring some local Queer bands and artists, as well as our Gender Affirming Clothing Swap, this event will be making a comeback this year – stay tuned!
Trans Day of Remembrance (TDOR)
The Pride Centre hosts an annual Transgender Day of Remembrance memorial and candlelight vigil for transgender people who are lost each year due to transphobic, gender-based violence. The event aims to raise awareness of the violence against our transgender and non-binary peers, and honour the memories of those we have lost.
The Pride Centre’s oldest and proudest event of the year! Usually taking place in March, Gender Bender has taken many forms over its 20 years of existence, but at its core has always been about the exploration and celebration of gender!
This event is led by first time student performers and backed by professional drag, burlesque, and vogue performers to help guide and connect students to their community of interest.
Pride in September
SAMRU has a spot in the upcoming Calgary Pride Parade on September 4th! Sign up here to walk with us.
Connect with SAMRU Pride
We hope you’ve learned something interesting about how the Pride Centre came to be at SAMRU! For more information about upcoming Pride programming for Fall 2022, follow the Pride event calendar by visiting samru.ca/pride.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Relationship, Identity, and Sex programmer.