Nine Stony Brook University students attended the first ever SUNY Pride Conference held at SUNY Oneonta on October 11–13. Delegates from all SUNY system campuses were invited to attend this landmark conference. Stony Brook students John Martin, Alaura Martucci, Olivia Sanchez, Heather Savino, Alyssa Stevens, Nolan Theodore, Emily Torkel, Sammy Vupputuri and Betty Wang were accompanied by staff members Chris Tanaka, coordinator of LGBTQ Services in the Center for Prevention and Outreach; and Sean Pierce, director of Student Life at Stony Brook Southampton.
“The conference provided an opportunity for students, faculty, and staff to talk both about LGBTQ Services and Resources on our individual campuses as well as talk about creating a vision for the SUNY system as a whole,” explained Tanaka. “A SUNY LGBTQ Hub network is being constructed as a way to allow for SUNY schools who may not have as much to offer in regard to LGBTQ Services or Resources as other SUNY schools the opportunity connect with a hub in their area for information, ideas, and support in serving LGBTQ and ally students. “
Olivia Sanchez, filling in for student Tyler Morrison, who came down with the flu the morning of the conference, gave a presentation about the Blood Donor Equality project, which Tyler started at Stony Brook.
“The conference was an amazing opportunity for me to not only meet LGBTQA people at Stony Brook but also from other SUNY schools,” said Betty Wang. “It’s empowering to not feel alone.”
“It made me appreciative of the work that has already been done before me here at Stony Brook, and has motivated me to want to become more involved in helping to affect change here on campus for future LGBTQ students,” said Alaura Martucci.
“Overall the conference was an extremely inspiring and educational experience,” said Alyssa Stevens. “As an ally, I learned far more about the issues the LGBTQ community faces on a daily basis and found it heartening to see everyone come together, share stories, and support one another.”