By: Hannah waldera
Sexuality and Gender Equality Club, also known as SAGE, is a club on campus that welcomes all students to join to create a safe community. The group brings awareness and celebrates people who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. SAGE wants to allow students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community the opportunity to be seen and have their identities celebrated on campus.
This year's SAGE president is Clara Cleland-Leighton. She is a junior at Graceland studying history, theatre, English, and art. She feels her role as president is to “provide students with a safe space to express opinions and concerns while celebrating their identities.” Cleland-Leighton does this by helping students with administration, whether that be bringing concerns to school administration or advocating for them in other settings.
Dr. Mark Gardner was also the president of SAGE, or previously known as GSA, and had a very similar outlook on what he felt his role was when he was a student. He agreed that he felt like his role was to bring concerns to administration, support students, and bring awareness to injustices.
Dr. Gardner explains that life on campus surrounding the LGBTQ+ community is different than when he was a student. He explains that there were not many people who were open to talking about their sexuality, which affected the dynamic of the club and how they operated. Since then, there are more people who are comfortable talking about their sexuality, influencing the impact SAGE has on campus.
Cleland-Leighton says that the general mission of SAGE is to ensure “students feel seen, safe, and celebrated in their identities on campus.” They work to achieve this by having many events. In the past, they have had events such as drag shows and queer film festivals. These events help students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or people who want to show their support for the community by allowing them to feel seen on campus.
SAGE is an important part of campus by not only encouraging people of the LGBTQ+ community to be themselves, but it is a great way to educate people on the topic. Students who learn more about SAGE and what they do can get a better sense of why it is important and learn how better advocate for people within the community.