UC Davis student Kyle Prosen recently created rainBRO sweatbands, which aim to provide understanding and knowledge about concerns that members of LGBT community frequently face.
“The main purpose is to identify allies within the Greek system and give training. By starting with a basic level of information, we can move forward,” Prosen said.
This began as a personal project. According to Prosen, when he was first figuring out his sexuality, he felt comfortable confiding in his fraternity. He wants every student, including those not involved in Greek life, to experience this sense of comfort.
“With wristbands on campus, the purpose is to identify allies. Even if you are not a member of Greek life, you can identify someone to talk to, especially if those people are your friends. It provides allies which can help point you in the right direction,” Prosen said.
There are two types of wristbands: a silicone band signifies identification as an ally, while a sweatband means personal identification.
“I decided to join the project because Kyle asked for some help, and since he’s my friend and there aren’t many members of the Greek community who are openly LGBT, it seemed like the right thing to do,” said senior genetics major Kyle Scroggins, another student primarily involved in the execution of this program.
According to Scroggins, the project will also give students resources to create a more comfortable and accepting environment.
“I’ve personally known a few LGBT kids who were interested in Greek life, but ended up deciding against it because they didn’t think that they would be accepted for being who they were, so by identifying allies within the Greek community, it will help ensure that everyone gets the college experience that they want, without having to worry about whether or not they will be accepted,” Scroggins said.
Three hundred wristbands total were ordered and funded by a private donor. They are given out to the fraternities and sororities, and people can pay $1 extra for additional wristbands. Prosen is expecting his venture to expand past college and Greek life.
According to the rainBRO mission statement, the program is intended to help students become familiar with the LGBT services that are being offered, as well.
“[RainBRO serves] to promote exposure of LGBT issues to the greek community and enable members of the greek community to understand some of the underlying difficulties facing the LBGT community…to make their words/actions conscious of how they relate to heterosexism, to encourage self-education for those that are willing, and to make first year LGBT Davis students feel more comfortable within the greek community,” the statement reads.
Next quarter, Prosen will be working to start a similar program in UC Berkeley.
DANIELLE HUDDLESTUN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.