The Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center will celebrate Valentine's Day with their “Love is Love” event today from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in suite 209 of the Main Campus Student Center.
Senior Associate Director of Intercultural Affairs, Mark Rasdorf, said “Love is Love” is an event centered around providing inclusive messaging for all gender and sexual minorities. He claims the idea came from the need for an impactful event on campus in the spring.
“The idea came from students who wanted to do something in the spring semester that had a broader impact on campus such as our events like national coming out day in the fall,” Rasdorf said.
This will mark the fourth year the LGBTQ Center has hosted “Love is Love,” Rasdorf said, adding that this will be an event where students can share messages of inclusion and pick up a t-shirt on a day highlighting love.
Rasdorf said his primary responsibility as senior associate director is overseeing the daily operation and long term planning of the LGBTQ Center, adding it is the largest of its kind in the University of North Carolina System.
“The LGBTQ Center serves as a resource, educational and social service on campus which of course includes faculty and staff alumni prospective students and their families,” Rasdorf said.
Since its founding in 2011, Rasdorf said the Jesse R Peel LGBTQ Center has become increasingly more active in fundraising and campaiging for LGBTQ advancement.
Senior anthropology and chemistry double major Eric Hickerson said he assisted the coordination of the Love is Love event by helping with t-shirt designs, planning, and setting up decorations.
Hickerson said the the idea of Love is Love centered around showcasing other kinds of love on valentines day, and not just the heteronormative love that dominates media.
“Love is love as a way to make sure that all of the students, faculty and staff in the community feel involved around this holiday and make sure they know they are loved by everyone,” Hickerson said.
Hickerson said he had been volunteering for the LGBTQ Center since his freshman year until he began hired as a center assistant last year. Since then, Hickerson said he has become part of the programming committee where he now helps organize events.
Hickerson added that he was one of the 10 students selected to attend the Time to Thrive contest and is excited to learn about more ways to assist the LGBTQ community.
“Through the center I have learned to become a better person, a better student and learning to be more of an advocate for the LGBTQ community and my peers,” Hickerson said.
The annual event “offers an opportunity to share an inclusive vision of love for all” and will have free t-shirts and photo opportunities, according to the Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center website.