East Tennessee State University will soon host its first-ever LGBTQ+ Pride Festival to mark the end of the Civility Series. The food, entertainment, education and fun is all set for April 12-14.

“I want people to get a better education and understanding about the LGBTQ+ community, our history, and what we need in an ally and a university,” said Pride Director Glenda Swartz. “I also want the LGBTQ+ community on campus to feel welcome and at home here at ETSU. I want everyone to feel that they are a Buccaneer and that their voice is heard.”

Pride Fest is the result of a conversation between Glenda Swartz and a freshman student. Together they identified the need for ETSU to show its support to the LGBTQ+ community. After speaking with Leah Adinolfi, they gathered recruits and developed a plan.

“There have been, and still are, huge issues happening on our campus. This festival isn’t going to be the cure-all, but it’s an amazing step in the right direction,” said Swartz.

“I can’t express enough how grateful I am for the campus and the committee that have put in so much hard work and dedication into this campus history changing event, and I can’t say enough how important it is for everyone to be involved, to come and support, and to show students no matter gender, sexuality or any other identity that they are part of the Buccaneer family.”

Festivities for Pride Fest will kick off on Thursday, April 12 at 8 p.m. in the D.P. Culp University Center. Friday, April 13 will be an Education Day dedicated to teaching students, staff and faculty about the LGBTQ+ community and culture. The day will feature several events, including political and community speakers. Saturday, April 14 will be the main day for the festival. The day will be filled with musicians, booths and food trucks.

ETSU clubs and organizations are encouraged to participate in the festival. For a short time longer, booths are available for reservation for one day or both days. The booths must feature activities appropriate for the festival. A few campus and community groups, such as Diversity Educators and Hats for Hope, have already reserved booths.

“We want organizations to have the opportunity to reach out to the LGBTQ+ Community to let them know that their organization or group is a safe place for them to go,” said Swartz. “All that we have asked of the organizations and groups is that they have a fun activity to draw the students into their booth.”

Join the ETSU community in their support of the LGBTQ+ community. Be you, be an ally, or just come out to learn more. For more information or to reserve a booth, please contact Glenda Swartz, Pride Director, at swartzg@etsu.edu or email fasanello@etsu.edu.