Today, we meet Yash, an international student from India and a member of the LGBTQIA+ community who is pursuing his master’s in computer science. Let’s see how Yash chooses to celebrate Pride at Rowan University.
In your own words, what does ‘Inclusivity’ mean to you?
“Inclusivity means being welcoming and accepting of people within all types of diversities. You respect me for who I am and I respect you for who you are. You have the acceptability for various diverse backgrounds. You embrace yourself at the same time you embrace others for who they are.”
How do you personally celebrate Pride?
“I celebrate Pride by spreading awareness to other students and attending Pride parades. One of my favorite things to do is share my story with other people so they feel comfortable embracing themselves for who they are. I celebrate Pride throughout the year because I am proud of myself.”
Is celebrating Pride new for you since being here, or is this something you celebrated before coming to the United States?
“I haven’t celebrated Pride much in India, because there are minimal resources available for LGBTQIA+ individuals. It was hard to celebrate Pride. In the United States, I feel like I have freedom because nobody is going to judge you. When you know the people are welcoming, it is a different feeling, and you will enjoy it more.”
How do you connect with people on campus within the LGBTQIA+ community?
“I think that the best way to connect with the LGBTQIA+ community is through organizations like Prism and Out In STEM, which is an organization dedicated to inclusion and development for LGBTQIA+ students in professional work settings. There is also something special in the Department of Social Justice, Inclusion & Conflict Resolution where they guide you to these resources that the University provides its students. There are also a lot of events happening all the time and often see posters around campus promoting these events. Recently, there was a Drag Show that occurred right in the Student Center, and there was also a Pride Parade Festival that happened. By participating in all of these active organizations on campus, it is easier to meet people.”
Are there any people in particular on Rowan’s campus that have been supportive of you?
“There is one person within the Cooper Medical School who has been very supportive of me. I think of him as my older brother, and he is also a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. I have very few LGBTQIA+ friends around campus, but he motivates me and steers me in the right direction, and I am very glad that I met him.”
What insight/advice do you have for students that are beginning to identify within the LGBTQIA+ community?
“Be proud and confident in yourself. I think that one of the most important things for individuals is to be confident in who they are. You have to be proud of who you are. Always be yourself.”
Do you have any insight/advice for future international students who are considering studying abroad?
“I think that international students coming to the United States shouldn’t feel like they are coming to a far-away land. You see a lot of international students around campus, and it feels like you are in a mini-version of your own country. There is nothing about, especially at Rowan, because you always find studying here that are from your country. The people around here are so welcoming and accepting of other diversities, that there is nothing to worry about. Just hop on a plane and come right here to Rowan!”
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Written by Jordyn Dauter, sophomore dance & elementary education double major