I’d like to take a few minutes and talk about some of the developments and growth of the LGBT Alumni of CN during 2014…
–In March; we had our first group meeting at the Highlander Center in New Market TN. It was there that we set the agenda for 2014.
–In May, due to generous donations, we were able to sponsor LGBT sensitivity training through the University of Tennessee’s “Safe Zone Program” for several CNU professors and other staff. This training will be used to train other CNU professors and staff in the future so that students have informed and accepting individuals to turn to in times of need.
–Also in May, we became an official Tennessee Charitable Organization so that our organization can continue to meet the needs of larger CN LGBT community.
–In June we participated in our first Knoxville PrideFest event. It was made successful by hundreds of visits to our booth, where volunteer students talked to alumni and potential CNU students. We raised money for our 2014 LGBT Alumni of CN Scholarship Fund. We also gave away two tickets to Dollywood, which had been generously donated to our little organization. Many of you participated by donating money, muscle, and water so that our booth was a great hit with those attending the festivities.
–In August, we awarded our third LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman Scholarship to Christopher Ball, an openly gay, CNU student, who is politically active, both on campus and the community. Christopher is an elected member of the Student Government Association and plans to run for Student Government President in 2015. The scholarship would not be possible without the VERY GENEROUS donations of members, their families, and their friends. Work is underway to create criteria for awarding future scholarships. More about that later…
–In September we started the CN LGBT Student Social Support Group, which is held, weekly, at St. Barnabas Episcopal-Lutheran Church in Jefferson City. So far, the group has been successful. We have several regular attendees and are blessed with loving (and nutritional) support from the church’s members.
–In November we were informed of a student who was in need of assistance so that he could remain in school next semester. He had shared his orientation with his family, hoping that it would bring them closer. But as you know, this was not the case. Upon hearing about this young man’s situation, many of you dug deep and quickly raised $2600 to make sure that he would have what he needs to continue to attend CNU. Also, many of you sent messages, offering to house him, offering to help him navigate the financial aid process to get as much assistance as possible, offering him holiday gifts, etc.
Throughout this entire year, you have gone above and beyond in showing love and support to the CNU LGBT community. I am SO PROUD to be a part of such an amazing group! Here’s hoping that 2015 is as successful as 2014!