Month: May 2018


Diversity Program of the Month
Love, Simon Screening

School: University of California, San Diego Region: PACURH
Person in charge: Andrew Johnson Nominator: Meeta Marathe

Target Population: 150 Time Needed to Organize: 5 weeks
Number of People in Attendance: 186 Date(s) of Program: May 17, 2018
Number of People Needed to Organize: 15 Cost of Program: $3,530
On-Campus Population: 10700 Chapter Size: 47

Origin of Program:

This program was led by a student in Sixth College, which is one of UC San Diego’s six colleges. The courses and student organizations within Sixth are centered around three concepts: culture, art, and technology. A year ago, Andrew Johnson, a third year Sixth student, formed Sixth’s Television Club (TVC), which aims to recognize the art of television and other forms of media in our contemporary society.

The idea for this program emerged when Andrew read the novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The novel is focused on Simon, a closeted gay teenage boy who explores the challenges of coming out to friends and family while in high school. The novel was adapted to film this year, and when Andrew watched the adaptation, Love, Simon, the program began to formulate in his mind. He started planning a movie screening with the other of the members of TVC. He designed this program not only to watch a beautiful movie, but also to encourage diversity on our campus.

Word Count: 170

Please give a short description of the program:

The program took place at the Sixth Reshall Quad, which is a large grassy field in front of the Sixth Residence Halls. The quad was split into two parts: the fair and the movie screening. The fair was constructed to appear similar to a scene in the film Love, Simon with its lively atmosphere. During the fair, students were able to participate in various activities that were both fun and spread awareness of LGBTQ+ communities. These activities included “Snag the Flag,” in which participants identified which flag represented which queer community. During this activity, students also learned what some of the different queer communities were if they didn’t already know them. The activity “Is It a Match?” involved matching queer celebrity couples with each other. In the “Theme Song Challenge,” students had to pinpoint theme songs from queer-oriented television shows. Attendees could also write letters either to the author of the novel, Becky Albertalli, or to anyone in their life that supports them. TVC sent out the letters to Becky, and the students gifted the other letters to their friends and families. In addition to all of TVC’s activities, representatives from San Diego Pride had an information table with pamphlets and other giveaways.

If students participated in the various activities, they received a rainbow T- shirt that read “Love, Sixth” and were entered in a raffle for Becky Albertalli’s novels. They also could enjoy warm, delicious waffles, which matched perfectly with the theme because Simon eats at Waffle House in the film.

After the first hour of the event, the fair was wrapped up, and the focus was shifted to the movie screening. The film was projected onto a large inflatable screen at the corner of the field, and attendees brought towels, blankets, and foldable chairs to sit on. While watching, they could snack on oreos, which were also a reference to the film. After the movie ended, there was an indoor debrief led by the members from San Diego Pride. They talked about the film and opened up the discussion to all the folks who had thoughts about the story. This was a very important part of the program because it gave students an opportunity to open up and think of the messages in Love, Simon and how these messages related to their lives and the lives of the people around them.

Word Count: 392

Goals of the program:

This program intended to expand support and awareness of queer communities through a contemporary film. It brought together students from all backgrounds and sexual orientations to watch a beautiful story unfold. Students often concentrate on academics and grades, especially at a research university like UC San Diego. Through bringing the topics in the film to the forefront of their minds, TVC hoped that attendees would stop and think about the influence they could have by spreading love. In the post-movie debrief, TVC also aimed to encourage students to educate themselves on LGBT rights and to continue having similar conversations with their peers.

Additionally, the program strived to show Sixth College’s support for queer- identifying students among their UCSD and the broader San Diego community. Having San Diego Pride at the event was an integral part of the program so that they could distribute information about their resources. TVC wanted to show the support that Sixth College, UCSD, and San Diego has for queer students.

Word Count: 163

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

There were many positive outcomes of the screening. The T-shirts given out during the fair were very popular, and many students have been wearing them in the days following the event. The shirts are very colorful and are a clear sign of Sixth College’s LGBT pride.

Additionally, the event provided an opportunity for students to actually watch the film. Many students that I talked to during the event told me that they had not seen it in theaters and that they were extremely excited to watch it. It also gave them the chance to reflect on the film and discuss it afterwards, which they might not have done if they just watched the film and went back home. A part of the post-movie debrief was directed at a scene that showed teenagers coming out as “straight” to their parents. While it was a humorous scene, it highlighted an important issue; the social norm is straight. Students articulated this during the discussion and related it to the way they perceived the people around them. Through these educational scenes and conversations, the event promoted diversity on our campus. Students were touched by the film and by the messages it conveyed.

Word Count: 198

Short evaluation of the program:

The program ran very smoothly. There was a large influx of people at the beginning of the fair, but there were so many activities that the crowd was spread out and handled well. Volunteers were very enthusiastic about the booths that they ran. During the film, there was enough seating on the field for all of the attendees.

Working with the provider of the waffles, Belgian Delights, was enjoyable, and we heard excellent reviews of the different waffle topping combinations that they had. The setup of the projector and screen, done by PC Tech, was quick. The San Diego Pride representatives were kind and ran a successful post-movie debrief.

Many students attended the program because it was well-advertised. Different posters were put up in each area of campus that were custom made to relate the film to the campus. The event page on Facebook was shared in all of the Sixth College groups, and the RAs (resident assistants) shared it with their buildings. Having the event in front of the Sixth College Reshalls was also very beneficial because people walking in and out of their rooms were drawn to the event.

Word Count: 191

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

This event could certainly be adapted to many other campuses in large outdoor spaces. Most college campuses also aim to promote diversity, and screening Love, Simon is a wonderful way to extend awareness of queer communities on other campuses. Organizers of the event could also connect with their LGBTQ+ resource centers and local organizations to appear at the event and lead debriefs after the movie.

Because the movie was projected on a large outdoor screen and the rights to the movie had to be bought, the program’s budget was very large. A modification to this event could be watching the movie in an indoor location that already has a screen and projector. The program could also offer smaller snacks (just oreos) instead of waffles. These changes would minimize the cost of the program from organizations that don’t have as large a budget.

Word Count: 142

Date of entry into database: 2018-06-08 01:34:09

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