Written by WZND Newsroom on January 25, 2020
NORMAL – Red and white weren’t the only colors being displayed on Friday night at Redbird Arena.
ISU Athletics hosted their first ever Pride Night at the Women’s Basketball game to honor the efforts taken in Bloomington-Normal in support of the LGBTQ+ community. These efforts include education and resources at ISU, such as the LGBTQ+ Student Support Fund.
The fund was established a couple years ago and provides emergency funds for students who need help getting back on their feet. It initially didn’t exist because students didn’t need the funds, but it has been on the rise due to the increased interest in these funds.
“The LGBTQ+ Fund just wants to provide students who need that support, who get kicked out from their homes from their parents, who lose financial aid from their parents,” said Volunteer Val Madro. “College is a rough time and it’s a lot of financial strain on students, so they just wanna break down that barrier…just that quick thing to help them get through their college career.”
Madro added she was happy with the event and that if the event were to continue in the future, the fund would be able to provide more support to the students that need it.
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Kristen Gillespie said she’s thankful that the University and her program share the same values.
“We’re so fortunate to be at a university and it stems from President Dietz that one of the core values is Diversity, Inclusion,” said Coach Gillespie. “You look in that locker room, from socio-economic to racial ethnicity to down the line, we have it all in there. That’s what I love about our team: it doesn’t matter. They love each other for who they are…and that’s what our program will always stand for.”
The Alamo II took $2 from all pride items sold at the game to donate toward the LGBTQ+ Student Support Fund.
Pride Night began this past fall when Jordan Ashley and Danny Bugg from the Marketing Department for Redbird Athletics pitched the idea to Coach Gillespie and her staff.