HANDS to create haven for students

Have you ever felt you were alone in the world, surrounded by people who just don’t understand? There are a group of Gannon students who want to change that feeling. These students formed an organization called HANDS (Helping, Accepting, Nurturing, Developing: Sexuality); and they are trying to make a difference. HANDS is about coming together, breaking stereotypes and providing education to those who want it.

This group is open to anyone and everyone on campus.

One of the several students behind this idea is Chad Gauthier, a junior information systems and theatre communications major. He said one of the main purposes for forming the group was to create a safe haven for those who are in need of acceptance.

“We want people to know that anything that goes on or is said will be confidential, and that will be a priority,” Gauthier said.

Senior respiratory therapy major Deadria Clarke said HANDS will also create a place where students can come and talk about dealing with sexuality on campus.

“We want to offer a safe space to talk about what people are saying about you,” she said. “We will talk about how to go about not letting it get you down or affect you.”

Even though the group is still in its preliminary stages, it is hoping to still gain interest and help the student body. Clarke said the group is in the stage of choosing officers.

Clarke also said she is optimistic that the group will gain university recognition.

“One thing that helps is that campus is becoming more open, especially with the creation of the Safe Network,” she said.

The Safe Network is a group of trained individuals who can counsel gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and transgendered students.

Those interested in joining this group or wanting to help out should contact Gauthier at [email protected]

MEGHAN BANDSUCH

[email protected]

News editor Brenna Peters contributed to this story.