NEWBERRY — The Student Alliance For Equality (SAFE), one of Newberry College’s newest student organizations, begins a new school year with several projects in its plans.
SAFE was founded to offer support and encouragement for equality on the Newberry College campus and in the local community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans gender and queer (GLBTQ) people and their allies.
“The addition of SAFE is a much-needed organization on campus,” says Helen McKinney, a former Newberry College student. “It provides the proper support and encouragement that students need at a time when the situation usually presents little, if any, support. Students need to be able to expose themselves to an environment that they feel comfortable and safe to be themselves.”
One project SAFE is involved in this year is the creation of SafeZones around campus. Faculty and staff members who volunteer for the SafeZone program go through training sessions to learn how to help students who come to them. Students who need to talk to someone about any sensitive issues can look for a faculty member or staff member with a SafeZone sticker by their office doors, letting them know that person will listen to them in a supportive manner and will keep it confidential.
SAFE President Beneisha Johnson, who was in the first group of SafeZone trainees, says the training will be beneficial.
“The program was extremely helpful,” Johnson says, “and I learned new terminology that I never knew before.”
Among other events SAFE has planned is a fashion show at the end of November.
While admission will be free, donations will be accepted to help efforts against domestic violence. A planning meeting for the fashion show will be held Tuesday.
SAFE holds regular meetings every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. in McClurg 116.
The meetings are open to all interested individuals.