There's something about Case that I consider its best kept secret. It's something I didn't really get a picture of until Orientation, something that even now I'm uncovering in slow and sure steps, something I'm proud of more and more each day. At Case, you're not just a student at a challenging and unique university. You're not just getting a great education, with amazing opportunities and incredible people. All of those things are certainly true, but what no one seems to tell you until you get here is how much of a community Case is.
I feel like I truly experienced that a few weeks ago. It was National Coming Out Week, a time for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth across America to seek support and understanding from their family, friends, and peers. In light of the tragic and highly publicized deaths of several LGBT youth this past month, it came around this year with a bittersweet mixture of celebration and mourning.
Although I'm not LGBT, I consider myself a proud Ally and have been active in promoting acceptance and awareness since high school. Because of this, it was particularly heartening when I came to Case to see our local Spectrum chapter encouraging students to get involved, be proud and comfortable with their sexuality, and foster a positive community for everyone at CWRU. With the grand opening of Case's LGBT Center this fall, it seems that our campus is making more and more progress towards that positive and accepting community.
Spectrum's activities for Coming Out Week were phenomenal. Along with supportive community members, faculty, staff, and visitors, they helped garner support for a candlelight vigil to remember those who were lost to suicide. Other events that week included a mixer especially for Allies, painting of a banner for the CWRU community, and a speed dating event that encouraged individuals of any sexuality to show up and have fun.
The solidarity at events like the vigil was clear and present. There was no doubt in my mind that I was both part of a fantastic community for members of every sexuality, but that I was also part of a greater community that defines what it means to be part of CWRU. Events like this make me genuinely proud to call Case my home, and especially to call Case my community.