The University and RUSU at Reading Pride 2016
Tuesday, 06 September 2016
On Saturday 3 September 2016 the University of Reading had its first official presence at Reading Pride. The University’s involvement was jointly led and organised by our LGBT Plus staff network, by RUSU - including its new Diversity Officer Sed Joshi and new LGBT+ Students’ Officer Nikki Ray - and by the University’s diversity team, including Frances Raimo our Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Simon Chandler-Wilde, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
A group of us – students, staff from across the University and RUSU, and family members -- many of us wearing University T-shirts -- marched in the Parade with the University’s banner. We also had a prominent stall in the Reading Pride “Marketplace”, down on the Pride Festival site at King’s Meadow, alongside many other local employers and LGBT-related organisations, and in between the rival entertainment hubs of the Pride fun fair, and the Main Stage and its bars and food outlets -- mine was a wrap from “Sizzling Spice”.
The rain held off throughout the parade and we marched around the town on the new parade route and managed to keep hold of our large, brand-new, rainbow banner despite impressive wind gusts.
We made it back to King’s Meadow shortly after noon to the University’s stand where we spent an enjoyable few hours chatting to other Pride goers, took turns to look round the festival site ourselves -- and got refreshments in. From our stall we distributed goodies, including 400 very popular RUSU/UoR-branded rainbow flags. We ran out of our limited supply of prospectuses, and may well have recruited a few new students.
It was great to see student and staff colleagues from around the University pop by for a visit to our stall throughout the day. And thanks to Reading Pride for being on-brand with the gazebo they provided – though we could have done without the early technical issues!
Towards the end of the day the rain set in and the wind got up, and we retreated to a local pub (from Reading Pride to London Pride?!) for a brief wash-up meeting. The overall feeling was one of success, a really fun and valuable day out, and of having established a great platform to build on for the University’s involvement in Reading Pride 2017.
In summary, we had a brilliant time joining in with and supporting Reading’s LGBT+ community. We highly recommend this event to our fellow staff and students as a brilliant day out for all ages. We hope to see many of you next year, whether you join in parading, help on our stall, or just come down to watch the parade and have a great afternoon out at the Pride Festival site down at King’s Meadow.
Words: Calvin Smith