SAGA sets new goals for spring semester


Courtesy of @rwusaga on Instagram

SAGA is focusing its time on three pillars this semester.

Amy Martin, Features Editor

Community is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. The Sexuality and Gender Alliance (SAGA) at Roger Williams University is able to provide just that for students who are a part of the LGBTQ community.

“SAGA, before anything else, is a resource for RWU’s queer and trans students and an environment where they can gather and be authentically themselves,” said Public Relations Chair Sophie Speliopoulos.

With the start of a new semester, SAGA is introducing and prioritizing three new pillars in order to better focus their efforts: Acceptance & Community, Education & Understanding and Activism & Justice. The organization aims to provide a safe space for LGBTQ students on campus, as well as educate others about LGBTQ issues and make genuine change, both on and off campus.

“I want to stress here on the topic of Education & Understanding that we welcome any and all questions you may think are relevant to SAGA,” Speliopoulos said. “Even if you think it’s a stupid question. There are no stupid questions and we’re happy to answer.”

In addition, SAGA is making a conscious effort to be inclusive of all marginalized students, ensuring they provide support and community to everyone.

“We try to be clear about the intersections of race with queer and trans issues, as well as generally not center whiteness in our conversations and educational efforts,” Speliopoulos said.

In terms of COVID-19, SAGA made major changes in order to meet safety guidelines. The weekly meetings are now held on Zoom and many events had to become digital as well. There is also a Discord server where students are able to chat with each other, which is for those who wish to join.

However, this has not stopped SAGA members from working hard on spreading awareness on various issues. For instance, SAGA held an event where they premiered a video about the history of Trans Week of Remembrance on their YouTube channel.

Many of the changes applied to the Queer and Trans Resource and Advocacy Center (QTRAC), where students used to gather to hang out or study. It has also been used to hold meetings for different clubs and organizations focusing on issues regarding gender and sexuality.

“Due to the history of mistrust toward the medical community from queer and trans folks, many queer and trans students on campus have not felt safe in small public spaces and have opted to not use the QTRAC,” said Gabby Porcaro, Assistant Director of Queer and Trans Student Initiatives.

As of now, only six people are allowed to be in the QTRAC at once on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning Feb. 15. However, much of its community building program will be virtual. The Trans Affinity Group (TAG) meets weekly on Zoom, as does the Kinship Collective Mentors and Mentees. In addition, work study students are using Discord to host game nights and movie nights, as well as to share educational information regarding various social justice topics, which can also be found on Instagram via @rwusaga.

There are also several upcoming events that SAGA will be hosting, especially during Health Week, which is the week of Feb. 15.

“This week is for providing resources and promoting conversations about health in all of its many facets, be it health related to COVID-19, sexual health, health disparities in marginalized communities,” Speliopoulos said.

On Feb. 15, students can pick up masks, hand sanitizer, and stickers at SAGA’s table time. On Feb. 16, there will be an Instagram campaign that explores how health intersects with poverty, racism, homophobia and transphobia. On Feb. 17, there will be a workshop on queer and trans health. Finally, on Feb. 18, there will be a fun presentation titled “Motorboat Your Myths,” which will bust myths about sex and sexual health.

For those interested in attending these events, there will be more details on SAGA’s Instagram, as well as on their Hawk Link page.