Associate News Editor
PrideFest, the dream of alumni Shaq Glover, has developed into a much-anticipated annual event at Millersville University.
The event was designed to celebrate the diversity found in the MU community and is centered on four objectives: to educate, empower, connect and celebrate the MU LGBTQIA community. This year, those at the event were a conglomeration of people looking to enjoy all of the opportunities offered by the objectives. There were over 200 Millersville students in attendance, as well as students from other local universities, MU faculty members and the families of both students and faculty. Though the crowd that PrideFest drew this year was smaller than the previous year, it is believed that it was a result of the poor weather. The rain caused the event to be moved indoors.
According to Hiram Martinez, assistant director of CSIL, putting PrideFest together was quite a process. The committees worked on a shortened schedule, beginning at the start of the Fall 2015 semester. They began by agreeing on the agenda for the event as a whole and then moved onto the details, which had been described by Martinez as a lot of moving parts.
When planning PrideFest, Martinez said it was best to “think about what you want at the end and then work backwards.”
The overall vibe of PrideFest was celebration; however, the main educational focus was HIV awareness. One of the most prominently featured vendors, Family First Health, offered free HIV testing services located in the Student Memorial Center. The services were available throughout the event, and the line was consistently long. Overall, 43 members of the community took advantage of the free services, according to Tadd Hoffman of Family First Health.
In addition to the free HIV testing, PrideFest featured many different vendors from both groups relevant to the LGBTQIA community and Millersville University organizations. Some of these groups included the Planned Parenthood of York and Lancaster, PFLAG Lancaster, the Black Student Union, Silencing the Hate and several others.
The most captivating aspect of PrideFest was the entertainment. There was a live music performance, a short reading of a play by a local acting group and the headlining event: a drag show. Each performance captivated the audience, and the ladies of the drag show truly brought down the house with stunning performances.
Liz Fulmer, a Millersville student and Lancaster local, summed up PrideFest neatly. “It’s pride and it’s happy and it’s good vibes,” Fulmer said. She also wanted to note that the event is full of happiness.
PrideFest has been considered a tremendous success. Hiram Martinez has called it a process of continuous improvement, and a great addition to the list of student activities hosted by Millersville. The event can only be expected to expand with each passing year.