Students enjoy Pride Fest despite rain

From left to right, Ophelia Bawdy, Mack Reilly, Ari Little, and Joy Acheampong at the Prism Table for SJICR Pride Fest 2024 - Staff Writer / Beth Cimaglia

A location change allowed students of Rowan University to enjoy the annual SJICR Pride Fest on Thursday, April 4.

The event was originally planned to be held on the University Green outside of Bunce Hall, but due to yet another day of rain, it was moved into the Esbjornson Gym. 

Despite the gloomy weather, students showed up and showed out in festive and bright colors to support fellow LGBTQIA+ students on campus. 

There were over 10 tables at the event, providing games, handouts, bracelet making, and painting for students to enjoy.

Among the tables at the event was a table for Prism, the largest LGBTQIA+ organization at Rowan University. 

Mack Reilly, a sophomore marketing major, was the host of the Prism table. 

“Basically, our organization is here to educate, advocate, and support the LGBTQ student body and prepare them for what’s to come in the future,” said Reilly. “We’re a safe space for anyone on campus who would like to attend our meetings.” 

Prism tables Rowan’s Pride every year. 

“Every year we bring a performer with us that goes to the drag show,” said Reilly. 

Ophelia Bawdy, a Philadelphia drag queen, was also in attendance at the Prism table.

“I’ve never been to this event personally, this is my first time tabling here, and I’m actually having a really great time,” said Gabriella Rosario, a junior at Rowan University. 

The Student Center has had a table at Pride Fest for a few years now, according to Rosario. 

Gabriella Rosario (right) with two other members of SUP at the Student Center table for SJICR Pride Fest 2024. – Staff Writer / Beth Cimaglia

“This event is very important, to bring awareness to pride and how it should be normalized to be whoever you want to be,” said Rosario. “This is a great way to get students involved and also learn more about different things to do on campus.” 

The Student Center table was not the only campus building that hosted a table at this year’s Pride Fest. The Rec Center was also in attendance Thursday night. 

Taylor Sparks, a senior advertising and graphic design major, and Isabella Damico, a junior communication studies major, are both Rec Center employees and were the bright hostesses of the Rec Center table this year. 

“We believe that we have an opportunity for all of our students to come out and be healthy,” said Sparks. “Even if you don’t work out, the Rec is still a great place to meet friends, and we also have employment as well. That’s where I’ve met some of my best friends.”

“I agree with Taylor, we’re trying to promote the Rec right now, we’re trying to get Instagram followers, we’re on the marketing team, trying to promote,” said Damico about why the Rec chose to table at Pride Fest this year. 

There were also food trucks outside the gymnasium, and despite the rain, students stood in line to get food prior to entering the gym for the main event.

Rowan University’s Esbjornson Gymnasium festive set up for SIJCR Pride Fest 2024. – Staff Writer / Beth Cimaglia

The tables hosted raffles with opportunities to win Rowan University swag and pride gear, as well as arts and crafts. 

Pride Fest is held annually in April alongside a Rainbow Illumination of Bunce Hall. This year’s illumination will be postponed until Tuesday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m. due to the weather on Thursday evening.

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