Deptford Twp. – The Gloucester County College campus will fall mum on Wednesday, April 17 as students participate in the national “Day of Silence” sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
GCC’s 250-acre campus is located at 1400 Tanyard Road in Deptford, right off Exit 56 of Route 55.
A peaceful protest, the event illustrates the silencing effect harassment has on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) students. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the College’s Gay Straight Alliance (GSA) will host its first “breaking the silence rally” so that members of the campus community can share their experiences.
“We want to make what is a solemn day a celebration, to take a national issue and show it in a positive light,” said Assistant Professor Bryan Butler, who is the GSA faculty advisor. “Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of inclusion and fellowship.”
During the rally, representatives from the Philadelphia-based Bryson Institute and the Attic Youth Center will address issues affecting LGBT youths — including high rates of homelessness and harassment — as well as how to promote inclusivity. Students will also have the chance to discuss current events and express themselves through poetry, artwork, short stories and more.
The GSA is a student organization that provides a friendly forum for all things LGBT. According to Butler, a number of straight students participate in order to support loved ones.
“I’m excited to be a part of the college’s GSA because my high school didn’t have this organization,” said student Tori Shendock, of Sicklerville. “It’s important to educate loved ones. I know my family doesn’t take my relationship too seriously although they say they accept it.”
“It’s cool that there’s a group on campus that accepts all people,” said Tori Joyce, a student from Williamstown. “This is what I was looking for in a school. I want to explore how I feel.”
The Day of Silence event will take place in the GCC College Center mezzanine. It is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Bryan Buttler at 856-415-2117 or Director of Student Life Cheryl McBride at 856-415-2236.