By Fabian Mayer, September 10 2015 —
This year’s Calgary Pride Parade featured more involvement from University of Calgary student groups than years prior.
The Students’ Union marched in the parade as an official organization for the first time. Vice-president student life Kirsty McGowan is excited about the SU’s participation.
“We obviously do a lot to support those students on campus through the Q Centre,” McGowan said. “It’s just taking that step further into the community and showing that pride at the parade.”
According to McGowan, SU executives and other members of Students’ Legislative Council have marched in the past, but never in an official capacity. She said the decision was the result of SU members and staff showing interest in the event.
“We’re really excited to have so many students and staff at the SU who are really supportive of the LGBTQ community,” McGowan said.
The Schulich School of Engineering also marched for the first time. Engineering students and staff marched and the faculty also had an “art car” float entry in the parade.
Marjan Eggermont is a mechanical and manufacturing engineering professor. She was part of the decision to become officially involved in the parade.
“I think it’s overdue in my personal opinion,” Eggermont said. “It made sense with the direction the school is taking.”
Eggermont believes it is especially important as more people become involved in the traditionally male-dominated field of engineering.
“The reputation of engineering is changing. We need lots of different inputs to get good design results for the problems that we’re facing and that means including everybody,” Eggermont said.
U of C Q Centre co-coordinator Leah Schmidt is pleased to see more groups on campus participating.
“It’s just representative of the fact that campus is more okay with having their name associated with events that support diversity,” Schmidt said.
The Q Centre marched as part of the SU’s delegation. They also had a table at the Calgary Dyke and Trans March, which took place the day before Pride. Schmidt believes the parade is a great way for people that aren’t part of the LGBTQ community to get involved.
“The queer community is often associated with a lot of bad things like oppression and people being discriminated against. I think Pride is great because it’s actually a really positive way for everyone to get together and celebrate ourselves existing openly,” Schmidt said.
Despite chilly weather and overcast skies, tens of thousands attended the city’s 25th Pride Parade, which took place on Sept. 6 along 9th avenue downtown.
University administrators headed a U of C delegation that included president Elizabeth Cannon.
Other notable attendees included Mayor Nenshi and the parade’s grand marshal Flames president of hockey operations Brian Burke.