Spectrum, Virginia Wesleyan’s LGBTQ+ inclusive group, was founded to give LGBTQ+ students a space to hangout and feel included on campus. Many students identifying as LGBTQ+ feel isolated at times and as if there is no one else like them around. With this being known, Spectrum was born.
Dr. Kathleen Casey, Associate Professor of History, and students had the idea to create this all-inclusive club. It is important to note that Spectrum was created before the split within the United Methodist Church, which split recently over views on gay marriage. Many community members did not know where VWU stood on this matter prior to President Miller’s formal statement last year after the split was announced.
The club’s primary mission is to help students get connected with LGBTQ+ resources within the Hampton Roads community and allow them to locate options when they return home from campus. In addition, the club regularly hosts information sessions about “each other” that are involved within the club.
The sessions can include the meaning/appearance of various pride flags, non-binary guidelines, and ways to be more inclusive. The club is open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community in addition to anyone who is interested in learning about or supporting the mission.
In the past, the club has been involved with school administration helping to form gender-inclusive housing and improving the school’s non-discrimination policies to include protections for transgender and non-binary students.
The club’s executive board consists of India Khanna (President), Colin Wolf (Vice-President), Ashanti Parker (Treasurer), Carter Bernquez (Treasurer), Anitra Howard (Secretary), Jacob Wilson (Public Relations), Sam Gazala (Public Relations) and Jordan Gilliam (President’s Successor).
As stated by Spectrum’s President, India Khanna, the club’s meetings are conducted in an informal, discussion-like manner, whereby any one can bring up a topic or suggestion for the next meeting. They stated that many of the recent meetings have consisted of “just getting together to talk to each other and check-in with one another.”
Khanna stated that Spectrum has met exclusively via Google Meet this school year with no in-person events. The club recently hosted an “Among Us!” hangout on Sunday, Oct. 25 2020. They stated that the traditional National Coming Out Day rainbow door activity and Transgender Day of Remembrance transgender flag out of handprints would not be taking place this year.
Khanna stated Spectrum has plans to host a student-led Safe Space training sometime in the future. They noted that it was planned for the past Spring semester, but was canceled due to being sent home. The training will include topics relating to “dead” names, terminology, information on how to respect gender identities and pronoun preferences. The event will allow for more comfort by allowing students to ask other students questions regarding these topics.
Khanna would like to extend an invitation to all students to attend a meeting, and to message the Instagram account (@_we_are_spectrum) with any questions. They also ask students to remember that Spectrum is open to all who would like to participate.
By Jack Palmer
Movie Crew is a Virginia Wesleyan social club where students can get together with friends to watch different movies.
“Movie Crew was created as an open, judge-free group for Marlins to be able to make new friends, relax from the stresses of college life, and have fun through a shared common interest of watching movies,” Leilanie Sheppard, Movie Crew’s President and Founder, said.
A typical meeting for the club will include a movie showing that was voted on previously by the club members, shared snacks provided by the club including popcorn and drinks and the ability to hang out with friends during the film.
Because of COVID-19, Movie Crew has had to meet exclusively online, preventing the club from meeting in person. However, Movie Crew is still meeting with streams of movies on streaming services, such as Netflix.
“My goals for the club are to be able to help Marlins feel more connected to the campus by showing them that they are not alone, help students enjoy their college experience, and overall just provide a fun and safe environment for students to be who they truly are without worries” Sheppard said.
Movie Crew’s executive board, aside from Sheppard as the President, includes Meaghan Kern (Vice President), Jacob Wilson (Secretary), Aniyah McNeil (Treasurer) and Mrs. Takacs (Faculty Advisor).
Aside for their typical meetings, Movie Crew also helps host events on campus, and even joins other clubs on campus to host events. Events that have been held in the past include the Dive-In Movie showing of “Jaws” at the university’s pool and the Candy Gram fundraiser for Valentine’s Day last year.
Upcoming events for the club includes some collaborations with the Latino Student Alliance to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos. The two organizations will unite to host a showing of “The Book of Life” via Metastream on Friday, Nov. 6th at 8 p.m. Later this year, Movie Crew hopes to have a virtual Christmas showing to get everyone in the spirit while they are away and perhaps some other events in the spring.
To learn more about Movie Crew and their upcoming events, students can follow the club’s instagram page @_movie_crew. The club is always welcoming new members and can express interest through their interest form, which is listed in their instagram bio.
By Lauren Faulkner