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Source: University of Canterbury – statements

Diversity is part of campus life and rainbow communities are becoming even more visible at the University of Canterbury (UC) this year, an advocate says.

Ari Nicholson took up the role of UC Rainbow Co-ordinator in July last year to be a point of contact and a voice for the university’s LGBTQIA+ community. Ari’s goal is to increase knowledge and visibility for the 15 per cent of UC students who identified themselves as being members of rainbow communities in a survey last year.

Ari wants to make sure they don’t feel alone and says the UC environment is changing in positive ways. “One of the key things I have heard lately is teaching staff being approached by students in need.

“Each of the three staff who reflected that to me had taken part in the rainbow awareness training that we provide, and were using the lanyards or rainbow bands we had given out to show themselves as a rainbow safe staff member.

“Supporting staff with skills and tools to become rainbow allies has brought about huge change and it’s awesome to see those visibility initiatives working.”

Ari’s goal is to continue to increase that knowledge and visibility. Pride Week, which is from this Thursday 12 March until Sunday 22 March, is an opportunity to raise awareness and celebrate rainbow communities.

“Many of our rainbow students tell me they feel very alone, they struggle to make rainbow fri