Ever wondered about the clubs and organizations at Kean University? Equality for All (EFA) is a non-funded club that emphasizes a Gay/Straight Alliance.
EFA seeks to serve as a place where students can discuss and learn about issues pertaining to the LGBTQA (Lesbian, Gay, Straight, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Asexual).
EFA seeks to enrich and educate the Kean community through service and events and wants students to understand that they are always welcome and safe.
The EFA eboard consists of the president Emma Mantell a junior studying industrial design, secretary Alisa Meyer a junior studying criminal justice and treasurer Adeline Finkler a junior studying math education.
When speaking with the eboard they explained how they became a part of EFA.
Mantell spoke of the urge to be involved on campus and to join a club which worked in her favor leading her to take on the role as president her freshman year.
Meyer spoke of the comfort she received stepping into the unknown and experiencing EFA.
Finkler added on about how welcoming EFA is to each and every individual.
Mantell: "Equality for All at the time was having issues with their current eboard and the club was not doing as well as I had hoped. At its low point, I had been asked to join the eboard as secretary so the club would not lose its recognition."
Meyer: "Between LGBT issues and mental illness, it's a big place where people learn about one another but also a place where people can have a platform for their voices."
Finkler: "I was so excited to learn about an LGBT group on campus that I instantly agreed to come. I got to know some of the members, and returned again in the spring for regular meetings."
As President Mantell understands that her duty is to guide weekly discussions and to set an example of openness, tolerance and understanding to shape EFA and give the group members perspective.
As Secretary Meyer keeps track of attendance and the list of topics for future meetings and has also taken the initiative to be more active on CougarLink.
As Treasurer Finklier realizes that since they are an unfunded group, fundraising and organization can be a bit daunting.
Mantell: "It is amazing how each week our members are willing to share their stories and let their voices be heard. Every week I am expanding my perspective and learning from my members, an experience I am so grateful to be a part of."
Meyer: "I'd like to think secretaries are the people "behind the scenes." I run our Instagram page (with 33 followers) @efa_ku and I will be starting the weekly emails soon."
Finkler: "I do take part in designing and running meetings along with the other cabinet members, but my more specific duties have to do with organizing finances and raising money for future events we have planned."
Mantell wants students to understand that EFA has many benefits such as:
- a free space
- freedom to share opinions
Meyer and Finkler speaks of the benefits and the impact EFA can have on students.
Mantell: "Our discussions can range from subjects in regard to the LGBT+ community, current events, and social issues. We try to keep each meeting interesting and relevant to the group. We, as students on such a culturally diverse campus can learn so much from one another."
Meyer: "It can sound bias of me to say students can benefit from this club but I can't think how it doesn't benefit someone. I think a lot of students think clubs and organizations are specifically for certain majors and that is false. Not only do I get to meet people outside my major, but I meet the most caring and amazing people"
Finkler: "We do not allow discrimination or bullying of any kind and work to help those involved in potential conflicts of this nature understand their feelings and the gravity of their actions in a loving and empathetic way."
Although the eboard is important, the team members are as well. Andrew Rhoads, a senior studying finance, and Michael Gonzalez, a junior studying science, spoke of how and why they wanted to be a part of EFA as well
Rhoads: "One of the first friends I made at Kean told me about EFA and I decided to check it out and have been a member ever since. I've made great friendships and have finally felt I belong to a community that wants to see me succeed. I was recently out, as well as new to Kean, and wanted to make friends, and join a community that would accept me for who I am and want to see me succeed."
Gonzalez: "I joined EFA my freshman year after spending all of high school in the closet. When spring semester began I was made vice president in order to help the club get out of a bind it was in at the time. I wanted to join EFA because I never joined my high school Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) club because I was in denial about my sexuality. Once I got to college and was living on my own, I became more open about it and decided to join."
Rhoads, Gonzalez wants other students to have the opportunity to meet new people and have insightful conversations. With that being said, EFA is a welcoming place for them and any other students that join as well.
Rhoads: "Students can benefit by having a place they can go and be who they are. They can voice their opinions in a judgement free zone and make valuable friendships."
Gonzalez: "Kean students who come to this club will benefit from having a safe space to go to talk about things that they don’t feel comfortable talking about to their friends or family. Also, it is a great place to meet people who are also members of the LGBTQ community as well as its allies."
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