• Club Spotlight: Sexuality Alliance and Gender Awareness Club (SAGA)

  • Club Spotlight: SAGA (Sexuality Alliance and Gender Awareness Club)

    Q&A with the Club’s President

    Tina M. Cortez ’26 is a Food Business Management major.

    At CIA there are so many different clubs that students can join. Whatever interests you have, you’ll most likely find a club that accommodates it and if not, you can start your own club!

    One of the many clubs on campus is SAGA, the Sexuality Alliance and Gender Awareness Club. This club’s overall goal is to create a safe and welcoming environment for all students in the LGBTQ+ community on campus. One of the best parts of this club is that it’s not only a place to meet and bond with other students that are a part of the LGBTQ+ community, but it provides an opportunity to get a deeper understanding of this community through a variety of informative meetings and fun events!

    Photo of Astrid Aein ’25The club’s president, Astrid Aein ’25 (they/them), took an interview with me to give more information on the club.

    Has this club helped you feel more welcome and comfortable on campus? If so, how?

    SAGA has absolutely helped me to feel more welcomed and comfortable on campus. Growing up, my family was not the most supportive following my coming out as pansexual and non-binary. About halfway through my second semester, I befriended some of the SAGA board and started attending events and meetings. I found that I enjoyed attending these events and even more, I was thrilled to have finally found a group to which I belonged. When applications to join the summer 2023 SAGA board went out, I eagerly applied and was thrilled to be appointed as SAGA’s secretary. Since then, I have felt empowered to apply to other leadership positions across campus and even stepped up to take on the role of president in the following semester. I firmly believe that SAGA is the reason for my personal growth at CIA.

    What are some of SAGA’s upcoming events?

    With Pride Month happening in June, SAGA has several fun activities planned. June 1 we had two activities planned: SAGA held “Pride Kickoff” from noon–2 p.m. Students were encouraged to help SAGA decorate The Egg in the Student Commons for Pride Month—we set up decorations, painted windows, and encouraged the community to come together to celebrate. Later that day from 7–10 p.m. we held SAGA’s annual Pride Dance—a time to bring the community together to celebrate the hardships we have overcome both as individuals and as a community. SAGA is also in the process of planning a Color Run, a trip to NYC Pride on Sunday, June 30, and our annual Drag Night where students gather in The Egg to lip sync to all their favorite songs—in or out of drag—in an environment where they can feel comfortable expressing themselves without judgement.

    What is your personal experience being LGBTQ+ on campus?

    There is difficulty in finding an acceptable way to display pronouns while in class—particularly when wearing chef whites. SAGA general members routinely ask for SAGA to advocate for administration to approve wearing pins that display pronouns on chef whites, like pins that denote leadership positions on campus such as RAs, Orientation Leaders, and Group Leaders. I have found that when a student reaches out to CIA faculty/staff/administration, they are more than willing to help accommodate once they are made aware of how the student feels. CIA’s practices align well with my own mindset: help will always be given to those who ask for it.

    What advice would you give to anyone LGBTQ+ who is considering attending CIA?

    In terms of giving advice to members of the LGBTQ+ community looking to attend CIA, know that you are not alone. The community on campus is larger than you can imagine. I have found that almost every student I have encountered, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, came to CIA because they want to make an impact on the lives of others. I don’t know of any other community that cares so much about one another. A lot of my advice is the same advice I would give to anyone, whether they are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or not: get involved, put yourself out there, and push yourself to do something just a little scary. You never know how far you’ll go until you make that first leap of faith. Invest in yourself and learn as much as you can, not only in the classrooms at CIA but outside of the classroom as well. Connect with your chefs, professors, and peers to celebrate successes and help each other through opportunities. Remember we must all go through hardships to reach the stars. But above all else, you must do one thing every day: bring it!