The small turnout for Florida Tech’s first Pride Week encouraged better planning for the event in the future, Spectrum members said.
Pride Week is a week-long celebration of the LGBTQ+ community at Florida Tech hosted by Spectrum, Florida Tech’s group for members of the LGBTQ+ community and allies on campus.
Jacob Chesslo, a junior physics major and the president of Spectrum, said Pride Week, in its first iteration, had lower attendance numbers than expected.
He said the lack of attendance could be due in part to the organization not being able to advertise the event effectively.
He also said the group didn’t take advantage of other resources on campus such as Greek life, residence life or athletics to advertise events like sex ed boot camp.
Chesslo said another factor that could have led to low attendance numbers was the week the group chose.
Chesslo said one of the common calculus tests coincided with sex ed boot camp, which he said he believed led to a small turnout.
Hannah Blackburn, a senior astrobiology major, said along with many people she knew falling ill in the past week, the senior design showcase was approaching, which may have consumed time for her and her colleagues.
She also said starting the event on April 1 probably wasn’t the best idea.
“In retrospect, we probably should have gone for a different day,” Blackburn said. “Maybe we’ll go for earlier in the year next time.”
Chesslo said the idea of Pride Week was pitched as early as the beginning of last semester, but planning didn’t start until January.
He said the low attendance numbers didn’t discourage him from trying to do better for next year’s event.
“There were probably only about a dozen people at each event,” Chesslo said. “But the experience of all of those who have attended has been amazing.”
Pride Week at Florida Tech took place during the week of April 1.
“Pride is knowing who you are and being happy that that’s who you are. And also, being happy to let other people know that’s who you are,” Blackburn said.
Blackburn was the former president of the Spectrum.
She assisted Chesslo with most of the planning for the week.
She said the group was inspired by the efforts of similar groups on other campuses around Florida.
The idea to host Pride Week was originally Chesslo’s idea.
Each night featured a different event hosted by the group.
The week started with a movie night on Monday, April 1, followed by the president of Space Coast Pride, Cortney Thompson, as the keynote speaker on Tuesday.
A game night was held on the second floor of the SUB Café on Wednesday. Thursday saw sex ed boot camp in the Hartley Room.
The event scheduled for Friday, Pride Celebration, was canceled due to the increased lighting that came with the weather.
Saturday morning, the group hosted brunch in the Harley Room catered by Panther Dining, and a drag show in the evening at the Rathskeller.
Sunday was a spa day on the second floor of the SUB Café in the morning followed by a beach outing later in the afternoon.
Chesslo said he and the rest of the group are already planning for next year’s event.
He said this event was something he dreamed up and he never thought he’d see it come to fruition.
Chesslo said he believes this is a step in the right direction for the increased awareness and inclusion for the people of the LGBTQ+ community.