“In the Club” is a series that showcases some of the 230+ recognized student organizations at TCNJ. Want to have your club featured? Drop a line to email@example.com to be considered for a future story.
PRISM doesn’t need RuPaul to bring celebration of gay culture to campus. From charity drag shows to “big gay” bingo, PRISM provides an outlet for LGBTQ students to celebrate and embrace their identity.
As the oldest gender and sexuality alliance on campus, PRISM fosters connections with LGBTQ students by hosting events that bring representation to campus. The club welcomes anyone — sexual orientation aside — to stop in for their weekly social hour on Wednesdays, or to simply chat within a safe space alongside members of the TCNJ LGBTQ community.
As a group for education and advocacy on campus, Mary Ziminski ’26 recognizes the importance of having clubs like PRISM on campus. “We strive to educate about LGBTQ issues and identities, as well as advocate for them. Especially now with how much anti-LGBTQ+ bills and rhetoric are out there, I want to show other queer and trans students that they have a place on campus and that they belong,” they said.
Events hosted by PRISM not only celebrate the community, but also provide direct assistance for those figuring out their identity, including a transgender visibility clothing swap to provide clothes for students to feel comfortable with their gender identity.
For Shammy Shankar ’26, joining a club like PRISM was a new experience, where they now feel at home with the club’s approachable and non-judgmental environment. “Until now, I have never officially joined an LGBTQ organization out of fear of people finding out about me potentially being queer,” they said.
Liv Kelly ’25 faced a similar experience. “At the start of my freshman year I had only been out as a trans woman for a few weeks,” she said. “PRISM to this day is a safe place for me to be open about this part of myself.”
One of PRISM’s signature events, in coordination with the Division of Inclusive Excellence and TCNJ PRIDE, is Lavender Graduation. This ceremony is a small and intimate celebration of the LGBTQ graduates of the college that recognizes how much the community has grown during their time here.
Ziminski attended this year’s event to support fellow PRISM members and celebrate LGBTQ students beyond their identity.
“So much of the focus on LGBTQ people is just their identity, when there is so much more to us,” they said. “Celebrating our academic achievements shows that and highlights the great work that these students do — despite what others may think about them and what these students might be told about themselves.”
Check out @prism_tcnj on Instagram to see what they have in store for next semester!
— Kaitlyn Bonomo ’23