SAIT Welcomes All Students with New Rainbow Crosswalk

SAIT painted the pride flag outside of the Aldred building on campus in Calgary on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Photo by Kira McDonald.

After a year’s worth of collaborative efforts between several SAIT departments and stakeholders, SAIT painted a permanent rainbow crosswalk on campus to show solidarity for the LGBTQ2+ community.

The pride crosswalk is located on the north side of campus, located between the Aldred Centre and Begin Tower Residence building.

“It came about a year ago, and initially we talked about doing a temporary crosswalk,” said Jaclyn Damboise, Building and Grounds Coordinator at SAIT.

According to Damboise, the project was initially contemplated as a collaboration between SAIT and ACAD (now AU Arts).

Last year’s temporary crosswalk painting received approval from SAIT, but unfortunately building services wasn’t able to get the appropriate source materials for the temporary crosswalk painting in time for pride week last year.

Instead, SAIT and ACAD opted to paint the LRT tunnel between the two schools for pride week.

SAIT and its collaborators, Saitsa and the SAIT Gender and Sexuality Inclusion Committee (GSIC), continued work on this initiative through the new year, and got this project to the finish line this summer.

A Colourful Campus

An official ribbon cutting event for the crosswalk was held on Aug. 29 during orientation week, featuring speakers and rainbow treats for participants.

“Our campus has to reflect the demographics of the people we serve,” said John Partington, Co-Chair of the SAIT GSIC.

The GSIC has been in existence at SAIT for over two years, working to make SAIT a more inclusive place to work and study.

“We see there is gap at this institution when it comes to this kind of work,” said Partington, who believes the crosswalk is important because it’s not only a symbolic gesture, but a structural gesture of support as well.

“If people feel like they belong, there is a direct link to more academic success when it comes to grades, but those individuals also feel more personal success,” said Partington.

The GSIC and the Saitsa Pride Club have a number of activities and events for planned for Calgary Pride this September.

They had a booth set up during orientation week for new students, and both groups marched in the Calgary Pride Parade on Sunday Sept. 1.

Partington stresses that orientation week is useful for new students looking to get connected with the LGBTQ2+ community at SAIT.

“Orientation, participating in that, is important,” said Partington, “that’s the best way to get connected to resources.”

If students aren’t comfortable connecting with on-campus LGBTQ2+ organizations, Partington suggests students can also approach Calgary Outlink, Calgary Pride, and the Centre for Sexuality.

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