Courtesy of Associated Students
The Pride Center hosted its weekly Coffee Nights event on Tuesday, Oct. 3rd, in the Sol Center of the University Student Union. Students took part in conversation, games, and art alongside the LGBTQ+ community while enjoying coffee and tea.
The Pride Center is CSUN’s LGBTQ+ safe space, which is open to all queer students and allies. They advocate for the acceptance and safety of the queer community on campus.
Jay Guillen, a psychology major, said she came to CSUN because of the Pride Center. When a position for student assistant first opened, Guillen applied and got the job. The event that she helped out in during her first year as a student assistant was Coffee Nights.
“The purpose [of Coffee Nights] is being able to be together with other queer people, but those aren’t the given activities that you need to do. You can hang out and meet new people and have time away from school, exams and everything,” Guillen explained.
Some of the activities other Coffee Nights had available were coloring, painting, crocheting, and necklace-making. This week, students did diamond painting, a form of art where you apply small colored rhinestones on a canvas to create a sparkling and vibrant picture.
The movie “Mean Girls,” described as “a classic” by some students, played on the large TV at the center of the Pride Center’s lobby throughout the event. Some students sat on the couches and watched the movie while others quietly worked on their diamond paintings.
Meanwhile, a crowd of students formed in the middle of the lobby. Students yelled excitedly as they played an intense match of Uno in a circle around a mini coffee table.
Kim Gallardo, a biology major, said her favorite aspect of Coffee Nights is talking to her friends. Gallardo described her asexuality as a big part of who she is, and being able to speak to others who relate to her brings her a sense of community. She also added that Coffee Nights gave her time to relax from the rigors of college.
“Because I study all day – I’m a biology major, so I have to, like, work, work, work, work. Chemistry, biology, science… everything. I have to do it,” Gallardo said. “So I feel like sometimes it’s nice to just sit down and relax and just talk with my friends. It’s like a getaway from the work.”
One of the things that makes Coffee Nights special is the coffee and tea. The coffee comes from a Black-owned business called BLK & Bold.
The Pride Center also gave out free tea packets to attendees. The tea packets came from Sis Got Tea, a queer and Black-owned tea business.
Ysabel Tumala, a psychology major, felt that she benefited from attending Coffee Nights. Tumala said it was nice to be surrounded by students in other majors, as she is usually surrounded by psychology majors. She added it gave her the opportunity to “see other perspectives” and get out of her comfort zone.
An animation major, Emily Trujillo, shared how Coffee Nights supported her as a CSUN student.
“It helped me realize there’s a place that I can go with people who are like me, in terms of being part of the LGBTQ+ community, and it’s helped me find a safe place, just like a place to hang out on campus where I’m comfortable,” Trujillo shared. “There’s so many places on campus you can go to, but finding that one place you really like is important.”
Jeremy Mount, a psychology major, explained how the connections he makes keep him coming back to Coffee Nights.
“I like coming here and making friends. And if I can’t come every day I’m on campus, I can at least come for Coffee Nights. It’s nice to have a reason to come at least once a week,” Mount said.
Students can expect opportunities to attend Coffee Nights every Tuesday. Additionally, the Pride Center will hold Coffee Nights with different themes throughout the semester.
Deaf Queer Coffee Nights will be hosted on Oct. 17 for LGBTQ+ deaf students, and ACE Coffee Nights will be held on Oct. 31 for asexual students.