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GSRC’s PrideFest kickstarts celebrations for Princeton’s Pride Month

<h5>Students gather in Dillon Gym to celebrate the start of Princeton’s Pride Month</h5>
<h6>Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian</h6>
Students gather in Dillon Gym to celebrate the start of Princeton’s Pride Month
Angel Kuo / The Daily Princetonian

A basketball court inside Dillon Gymnasium was transformed on Friday, April 1: With rainbow pride flags lining the walls, the court was filled with booths representing a myriad of student groups and resource centers geared toward LGBTQIA+ communities on campus. 

Students stuffed their own technicolored teddy bears and took pictures with friends at a photo booth. Meanwhile, outside the facility, others lined up to enjoy prepaid treats from food trucks and get their faces painted. The event, the University’s first-ever PrideFest, launched a month-long celebration of Pride on campus.

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Haley Hendrickson ’25 was among students present in an official capacity, taking the festival in from behind the Carl A. Field Center’s information table, where Hendrickson works as an intern. 

“I think it’s really important that all of these groups show their support for the LGBTQ community and have a space for expression on campus,” she said. 

Hendrickson is also a member of the Pride Alliance, a student group for LGBTQ+ students and allies “dedicated to promoting acceptance and understanding,” according to the Gender + Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) website

Some students were drawn to PrideFest to enjoy the recreational activities.

“I thought it was a really well-done event. I really loved the food trucks and thought the tabling was great and thought it was a cute way to pass an hour,” said Amelia Koblentz ’25, an attendee at the event. 

Even with face paint and teddy bear booths peppering the gym, the event’s underlying significance for the community was not lost on attendees.

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“I think it’s wonderful that there are events like this that the University is providing funding and support for, so that our community and campus can be full of pride,” said Anika Asthana ’25, another attendee.

The idea for PrideFest originated with the Pride Month committee — a group of students affiliated with the GSRC who organize relevant programming throughout April — according to Grace Davis, Program Coordinator of the GSRC. 

Paul-Louis Biondi ’24, a member of Pride Alliance, as well as of the committee created to plan PrideFest, spoke to the initial vision for the event as “a way to bring the community back to campus [after COVID-19].”

“The tension we were painting was not just queerness but queerness and, so it wasn’t constructing queerness as a monolith but as a number of ways of existing,” Biondi said.

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In December, the Pride Month committee approached Davis to propose a festival-style event, and then immediately began the planning process — requiring coordination with vendors, the campus events office, Dillon, and other organizing groups.

Davis said in an email to The Daily Princetonian that their aim from the beginning was to make PrideFest “celebratory and bright.”

“I hope that the Princeton Community saw PrideFest as an act of celebration of self, and a visible acknowledgment (of love),” they wrote.

Other leaders with the Pride Alliance did not respond to requests for comment.

Tess Weinreich is a news staff writer and features contributor for the ‘Prince.’ She can be reached at tw7353@princeton.edu.  

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