The Road to Equality Leads to University of Central Florida
October 26, 2011 by Candace Gingrich, Associate Director, Youth and Campus Engagement Program
Woke up in Orlando to something a bit unusual for me on the bus tour – total pre-dawn darkness. We woke up a bit earlier than usual this morning for a bus open-house on campus – because our stop at University of Central Florida wasn’t going to be a usual stop. Today we were part of Wednesday Market Days at UCF & we needed to set up at 7 a.m. with the other vendors. Market Days is a great concept – vendors, student groups, academic organizations set up right outside the Student Union – today there was even a performance by the “most dynamic modern dance troupe on the East Coast.” Halloween is this weekend which I think explains the robot and the chicken (but not a robot chicken) we saw at Market Days as well.
Thanks to support on the ground from EQUAL at UCF and the College Democrat’s LGBT Caucus, HRC was able to have quite a presence at Market Days. The Road to Equality bus was parked at the curb and we had all of our tents, displays, video screens and merchandise spread across four booths. The volume of students was equal to our real estate – we learned that UCF had recently overtaken Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) to be the second largest university in the country with more than 60,000 students. We saw today that a sizeable number of the student population are avid skateboarders – I don’t even remember seeing that many skaters when I was in college in the 80’s. A good lot of the students visited us throughout the day – it is refreshing to have so many folks thank you for being there. We had some great giveaways like at other stops but today people also were stopping by for information and support as well as the free goodies. One student eagerly grabbed an anti-bullying postcard to fill out and shared with me how the issue was close to her since her brother was currently being bullied in his middle school.
Market Days doesn’t officially end until 5 p.m. but we packed up early as our next stop is Jacksonville and the University of North Florida, a couple of miles up I-95. Even as we were packing everything away there was still a queue of folks who wanted to sign postcards – it was hard to leave! But it was time to get the bus on the road again so we could have another great event Thursday at another great Florida college campus.
Thank you UCF for your support and advocacy during the Road to Equality Bus open house. Keep fighting the good fight!
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