On Saturday afternoon last weekend, students came together at the Brace Center for Gender Sexuality Alliance (G.S.A.) Craft Night, an event hosted by the club as a part of Andover’s annual G.S.A. Weekend inside the Brace Center.
Because G.S.A. Weekend conflicted with Halloween activities this year, the club decided not to host its annual dance, according to Bea Hruska ’20, Co-Head of G.S.A. Despite this, Hruska and fellow Co-Head Karin Ulanovsky ’20 said that they organized Craft Night as a way to support and promote the queer community on campus.
Hruska said, “This is really just supposed to be a fun event to make people feel good, have a good time, and know that it’s a safe space if they are queer. So I [hope] to just make people feel comfortable and remind people that there are people there for them, and they can have a good time.”
Attendee Karsten Rynearson ’22 described the event as a place to rewind and relieve stress. He urged people to not be intimidated by G.S.A. events and commented on the purported stigma surrounding the sponsored activities.
“I do wish more people were here. I feel like people sometimes hear the label G.S.A. and [don’t consider] going, especially if they don’t identify as a member of the G.S.A. community. They might think that going would say something about them, but it’s really just a chance to make art [and] hang out with your friends,” said Rynearson.
Outside the Brace Center, students tie-dyed shirts to create colorful pieces of clothing. Board member Maya Shkolnik ’21 hoped that the Craft Night would help bring awareness to and expand the G.S.A. community on campus.
Shkolnik said, “The best part of our meeting is getting to talk to people that I usually don’t talk to, [such as] lowerclassmen, and just listening to music and making connections with them and G.S.A. members.”
Ulanovsky hopes that, in addition to it being an event where people can socialize and enjoy themselves, it also fosters a safe space for students where they can freely express themselves.
“I hope it makes the queer kids on campus feel like they’re appreciated and they’re seen, and they have the opportunity to have their own moment on this campus. If it does that then I’ll be happy,” said Ulanovsky.
Jeffrey: Why did you decide to host this event?
Karin: It’s our annual GSA weekend and we’ve had it for quite some time, much before my time. It’s really just a time for the queer community to get together and have some fun bonding activities that are relaxing, and kind of celebrate the queer community on campus.
Jeffrey: Going so far?
Karin: I think it’s going great. Our coming out panel yesterday went very well, and it was just a very nice time and I think that everyone really felt like we had created a space were people felt like they could be themselves and say what they wanted and express how they felt and be accepted. And that’s like the whole point of GSA so I was really happy that that’s how it turned out
Karin: I think it’s just a really stressful time on campus right now, so people at this school have a really hard time convincing themselves to give themself a break. Right now we are doing games, tie-dye, collaging. There’s not too many people. It’s just cause I think people are really stressed right now.
Karin: A lot (jokingly). Basically we had to come up with the ideas of what we wanted to do we had to order a bunch of suppplies order a bunch of materials buy some snacks talk to people, make sure theres enough people to run the activities. And reserve the brace center.
Jeffrey: Hope it accomplishes?
Karin: I hope it makes the queer kids on campus feel like they’re appreciated and they’re seen, and they have the opportunity to have their own moment on this campus. If it does that then I’ll be happy.
Bea: Well one we do it every year, two I think its just something fun. Our clubs meetings are very much talking, sometimes watching stuff, so it’s just a way more chill and creative.
Bea: I think its going well
Bea: The scheduling for this weekend was kinda of difficult this year, because it’s so smushed. So usually have a GSA dance, so that would’ve been fun to do that for the weekend, but obvious it’s halloween weekend so that’s not happened
Bea: I like how you can just come to do whatever you want. You can be here for as long as you want. We have a movie later, and sometimes come to that or they come to this and I think it’s just a nice thing that’s there if you want it.
Bea: Lots of work from the board, from my co-head Karin.
Bea: This is really just supposed to be a fun event to make people feel good, have like a good time, and know that it’s a safe space if they are queer. So I think just like make people feel comfortable and remind people that like there are people there for them, and they can have a good time.
Jeffrey: How going so far?
Maya: I think the event is going really well. We’re having a good time listening to music, talking to each, and just having a fun time outisde of a regular club meeting dynamic.
Jeffrey: Best Part
Maya: The best part of our meeting is getting to talk to people that I usually don’t talk to, like lower classmen, and just listening to music and making connections with them and GSA members.
Jeffrey: Done Better?
Maya: The Brace center is really far away, and a lot of people don’t know where it is. But it’s a great space so I’m glad we’re here, but it’s a little bit far away from the main campus.
Jeffrey: Why important?
Maya: I think that it’s important to have like a GSA weekend because it brings people together and it kind of shows that there’s a community for people here on Andover’s campus, and we’re here for each other.
Karsten: I’m just having a really good time. My friend and I decided to come down here to see what it was like. I’m really enjoying it. It’s just a really nice thing to do on kind of a mellow saturday, I didn’t have anything going on today so I was really excited about this. I’m really enjoying everywhere, really great people here today, of course, as the GSA events tends to attract. The tie-dying looks really fun cause we don’t usually get to do that, so we might go do that later. I’m really enjoying making collages just cause that’s not something we get to do that often here. It’s just relaxing to sit here and make art. It’s just a really great event, really nice people; I love these events. I’m really happy I came to this one.
Karsten: I do wish more people were here. I feel like people sometimes hear the label GSA and think that going, especially if they don’t identify as a member of the GSA community. They might think that going here would say something about them, but it’s really just a chance to make art, hang out with your friends, listen music, have snacks and have a grand ol time. So I would encourage people to not let the time intimidate them, and to just come and have a good time.
Karsten: Well I just think it’s cool both for representational purposes just to show [that] this is a group of people on campus, and we’re cool, we’re fun. I guess it’s fun.
Well firstly just to let the GSA book out the space, as the administration has no problems with the LGBTQ people. I think it’s a good place also to let the people on campus, both who identify as queer and those who don’t, to come together and have a nice time and make art. I don’t think that this is a politcal statment of the day. We’re making art, listening to music, eating snacks, and we’re having fun. I think we are just having a grand ol time, and I’m really thankful that this happened today and I hope that that this [continues] to happen.