AGES tables for National Day of Silence

AGES Treasurer Ase Egeland, ’24, (left) and Public Relations Director Cameron Lesher, ’24, arrange candy on one of the tables.

The Allegheny College All Gender Equity Society hosted a Day of Silence to bring awareness and visibility to LGBTQ+ students on campus while also modifying it to be more accommodating to a college setting.
The Day of Silence event took place on Friday, April 8, from 12 to 3 p.m. in the Henderson Campus Center.
Co-President of AGES Marshall Ramos, ’24, explained that the idea to host a day of silence came from his previous experiences with it in highschool.
“Traditionally the Day of Silence is a lot easier to do in high schools where you have a set class schedule — that’s why we ask students to stay silent if they want to, but sometimes it is important to socialize with people, ” Ramos said. “We have a pretty well rounded trans and nonbinary community on campus and we hope by some choosing to take this vow of silence it will show others what it is like to have us missing from our community.”
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Day of Silence is an annual event meant to bring awareness to bullying and harassment of LGBTQ+ students. The event is focused on the lives of LGBTQ+ people in schools.
AGES Public Relations Director Cameron Lesher, ’24, described the purpose and aspirations of AGES regarding the event.
“During COVID, we did a Day of Silence more traditionally where we stayed silent in classes and that worked out well,” Lesher said. “This year we wanted to have it be a more open and visual presentation of what (Day of Silence) means because there is so much lack of awareness of queer issues and it is really hard to feel seen and heard.”
AGES had tables in the campus center where they displayed flags, stickers, pins and other themed items available for students in order to raise awareness for the event. According to Ramos, the silence vow on campus is an optional part of the day because he recognizes that many students have responsibilities so having a more visual presence is a way to have the event be accommodating to the college lifestyle.
Part of the event was also to bring awareness to current legislation meant to place restrictions on LGBTQ+ people. Students from all over the country come to Allegheny College and have experienced how different legislation affects their lives.
“We’re really struggling a lot because there are a lot of members of our club that are from states that are putting restrictions on access to gender-affirming care,” Lesher said. “I know people from Texas who feel like they aren’t being supported in any sense by lawmakers. The event is very focused on issues in classrooms so we want to say that not talking about sexuality or gender identity is supporting homophobia.”
August McCannon, ’25, spoke about how the community at Allegheny College differs from the community they have in their hometown.
“I’ve had a mixed experience because Meadville is a lot more inclusive and accepting than my hometown, but then I am still running into a lot of barriers because my gender identity is outside a binary,” McCannon said. “I live on a co-ed floor but the bathrooms are still gendered which is fine and I’ll use whatever bathroom but it is a little more discouraging. Besides all that, I have found a lot of friends through AGES and through Allegheny.”
According to McCannon, AGES is planning to bring a wardrobe to campus so that trans people on campus can have access to more gender-affirming clothing.
AGES hopes to bring more visibility to queer students on campus and plans to bring more events to support the LGBTQ+ community in the future.