Spectrum organizes a pride week dedicated to promoting and celebrating the LGBTQ+ community each spring.
Pride Day usually is celebrated in June, which is Pride Month, but Spectrum selects a week within the spring semester so USD students can participate and support the LGBTQ+ community.
The week will kick off on Thursday, April 18, with an LGBTQ+ Panel and the Masquerade Ball, which is a new addition to the Pride Week festivities.
Mandie Weinandt, the advisor of Spectrum, said she is looking forward to hosting the new events included in Pride Week this year.
“We’ve always had a spring drag show and we have done movie nights before, but we decided to combine these with Pride Week as these events are a great way to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride,” Weindandt said. “Also, working with the Residence Hall Association (RHA) to plan the masquerade ball is a new partnership event for us. We are very excited.”
In addition to the Masquerade Ball, panel and drag show, Spectrum will also have a free movie night downtown and end the week with the Lavender Graduation, a special honoring of the USD graduates who are part of the LGBTQ+ community on campus.
Jacob Holmberg, a sophomore criminal justice major, was just elected as Spectrum’s new president. He said he’s looking forward to working with both Spectrum and the RHA during Pride Week.
“I always love the Drag Show,” Holmberg said. “I’m really looking forward to the Masquerade Ball because we’re putting it on with the Residence Hall Association and I’m also going to be the president of RHA. It’s going to be a really great way for me to bring those organizations together and have cooperation between groups.”
In addition to unique events and activities, Pride Week also provides the opportunity for students to ask questions and learn more about the LGBTQ+ community.
“When students leave USD, they will interact in a very diverse world as they pursue their career,” Weinandt said. “It is important to better understand this diverse environment and that includes understanding the LGBTQ+ community.”
Holmberg also said Pride Week helps create a better environment for understanding and acceptance.
“Even here in South Dakota, which is not always the most accepting of environments, but we’re here and doing our best,” Holmberg said. “Having that opportunity for education is what’s going to open people’s minds.”