From the Editor: Allies Program promises guidance

Support is one of the greatest things a person could ever have. When going through something in life, both good and bad, it’s important to have someone there to fall back on.
Recently, support has been outstanding in the Allies Program, which was created to encourage the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community. The Allies Program is made up of faculty, staff and students who choose to go through training to help any person of the LGBTQ community when needed.
Currently, there are 100 allies on campus, and 60 of them have been trained this year alone, according to senior elementary education major Patrick Callahan, the Allies Program coordinator. Because of their training, all of the allies are more than qualified to actively listen to anyone in the LGBTQ community who reaches out for some kind of help and to refer them to the right campus resources.
It’s great that the university created the Allies Program to give support to those who are in need of it, and it’s even better that the number of allies on campus is growing at a fast pace. However, there should be more advertisement for the program itself.
There’s not much publicity or information around campus about becoming an ally or asking for help through the program. Many clubs and organizations go out of their way to advertise themselves and get members to join. With the Allies Program, you really don’t see that. More fliers and information about the program through email, Facebook or Twitter might encourage people to become an ally. Better yet, members of the LGBTQ community who might need some extra help, advice or just someone to talk to could more easily find the people they’ve been looking for.
Even though there’s not much publicity for the program itself, the allies are helping to make themselves known. Every ally has a sticker on his or her office or residence hall door to show people that he or she is trained and willing to listen to those who need support.
Suicide by members of the LGBTQ community because of bullying hits close to home. In 2010, Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers, committed suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge after his roommate videotaped him becoming intimate with another man.
Having the Allies Program could prevent a tragedy like this from happening again because LGBTQ people can have a safe harbor where they can discuss any issues they may be having.
Slowly but surely, society is becoming more accepting of the LGBTQ community. New Jersey has become one of the most recent states to allow same-sex couples to marry. But, it still can be hard to be an individual in the LGBTQ community, which is why the Allies Program is such an important one. The program is there to tell these students that no matter what, they’re not alone.
There are other places on campus for students to receive counseling, such as the Zoerner house, where students can talk to professionals about anything that they’re going through. However, the Allies Program specializes one field and uses peers. Some students who are reaching out for help might find it easier to talk to a student of their age or a professor they are close with, rather than a professional.
We would encourage students who are interested in the program to get involved. After a few short hours of training, you’re an official member of the program and could potentially be the support that someone so desperately needs.
Anyone interested in the Allies Program, contact Callahan at callahanp@rider.edu for information about training that starts next semester.

The weekly editorial expresses the
majority opinion of The Rider News.
This week’s editorial was written by the Opinion Editor, Danielle Gittleman.

Printed in the 11/6/13 edition.

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