VIU Celebrates Pride Week

Members of the Positive Space Alliance, VIU Students’ Union and VIU Residences are stuffing bags with candy and information about the PSA’s Endowment Fund to hand out at Nanaimo’s Pride Parade on Sunday.

June 10, 2016 - 10:30am

University’s Positive Space Alliance is creating an annual bursary and participating in the Nanaimo Pride Parade

Vancouver Island University (VIU)’s Positive Space Alliance (PSA) is celebrating Pride Week by fundraising for an annual bursary for those raising awareness of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as a presence in the city’s first-ever Pride Parade.

After several years of fundraising, the PSA, which formed more than a decade ago with the goal of making the campus a more welcoming place for all, is close to creating a Positive Space Endowment Fund – a sustainable and ongoing award for students who display leadership in raising awareness of diversity in sexual orientation and gender identity. Anyone with an interest in supporting LGBTQ+ youth is invited to donate.

“Queer and trans youth face a lot of unique barriers in life, and often struggle to access post-secondary education,” says Michael Olson, a member of the PSA Steering Committee and Executive Director of the Vancouver Island University Students’ Union. “As a group on campus that seeks to foster safe spaces and promote LGBTQ+ issues, we wanted to be able to support students who are doing similar work. It sends the message that these students deserve financial support and recognition. Our goal is a minimum of one $1,000 award per year.”

The PSA is also participating in the Nanaimo Pride Parade on Sunday, June 12, in conjunction with the Students’ Union. The parade begins at noon and will wind its way through downtown Nanaimo, ending with a festival in Maffeo-Sutton Park.

The bursary and parade participation are just the latest initiatives of the Positive Space Alliance. Every year, the PSA trains more than 100 people in creating safe spaces and educates them about the supports that are available, both on and off-campus, for LGBTQ+ members of the VIU community.

In 2014, the Alliance lobbied VIU to convert 22 washrooms to non-gendered washrooms. The PSA also works with the University’s Queer-Straight Alliance to run monthly Queer Movie Nights and other activities. 

To donate to the Positive Space Endowment Fund, visit the VIU Foundation’s website.



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

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Tags: In the Community