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For the first time in two years, campus LGBTQ organizations brought back Second-Chance Prom for queer students in the Talley ballrooms. A collaboration between Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, GLBT Community Alliance, Ultraviolet and Bi/Pan, the prom was a free event advertised to LGBTQ students as a means to celebrate the prom they might not have gotten.

Junho Yu, the president of GLBT Community Alliance and a third-year studying biology, said this event was needed by the community.

“We decided that we gotta bring this back,” Yu said. “We know the students need it after the harsh two years. We need to give students at least some opportunity where they can express themselves.”

Sarah Tolman, vice president of Ultraviolet and a third-year studying civil engineering, said the event began 10 years ago as a more inclusive version of high school proms.Tolman also said the event offers attendees something they might not have gotten in high school. 

“It's a coming-of-age thing,” Tolman said. “It's something that a lot of us didn't get because we just couldn't present that way and feel socially accepted. So we're building that community now that we're the adults in this space.”

Sadie Reese, vice president of GLBT Community Alliance and a first-year in exploratory studies, said the student leadership cohort worked to make this prom their own.

“It's more personalized, and it caters to what we want,” Reese said. “And maybe there's only 13 of us, but we've been working with everyone and all the organizations like members and freshmen are involved. So it's kind of a coalition to make something better for all of us.”

Part of that personalization is accessibility — Yu said they didn’t want the event to feel restrictive.

“We want a space where people can express themselves and come as they are,” said Anna Banas, board member of Ultraviolet and a first-year studying psychology. “Not as a cishet version of themselves they presented to people in high school to make themselves more palatable.”

Rose Riggs, president of Ultraviolet and a fourth-year studying plant biology, said the event also considers the safety of its attendees.

“It also provides a place where people can be close either anonymously or non anonymously, like with their partner or partners, and they can be openly queer, and it's not unsafe to do so,” Riggs said.

Attendees said they felt that safety.

“I am a lot less nervous to present myself how I would typically,” said Audrey Bruening, a second-year studying sociology. “It's more exciting just to see a community of people that I feel comfortable with.”

Keely Aldrich, a second-year studying natural resources, said there was a comfort in knowing who assembled the event.

“I definitely like that it’s organized by the organizations that actually mean stuff to us,” Aldrich said. “We know what their intentions are, and I know they definitely took a lot of time to make sure things were as safe as possible.”

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