Proposed pride celebration aims to bring inclusivity to Ames


Max Goldberg/Iowa State Daily

Nicci Port, project director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion writes down ideas for creating a Pride Fest in Ames later this fall, during a planning session April 12 in Beardshear Hall. 

Jake Dalbey

In order to create a more inclusive community within Ames, a citywide LGBTQ pride celebration is currently planned to be unveiled during the fall of 2017.

An open discussion took place in Beardshear Hall on Wednesday to determine what was needed for the event in order to create a successful gathering.

Led by Nicci Port, program coordinator for diversity and inclusion, posters were held across the room to allow guests to voice their opinions freely on the proposal.

The proposed sponsors listed included Target, Jeff’s Pizza, Wells Fargo and Inclusive Ames. Guests focused heavily on seeing music, dancing and food vendors as an important aspect of the event.

Port hopes that the pride celebration can replicate the style of Pride in the Park in Minneapolis. Pride in the Park focuses on diversity and inclusion through speakers and film presentations, which take place outdoors. Port pictured Ames’ Bandshell Park as an ideal location, which could accommodate large crowds.

“We have a connection with the Ames burlesque, which would be cool entertainment with drag elements that really represent pride,” Port said. ”We’d also have a family-friendly piece so it’s inclusive for all ages.”

Along with Port, Joel Hochstein, hearing officer for the office of student conduct, is involved as a champion for the program.

Nate Logsdon, co-founder of the Maximum Ames Music Festival, is also a champion who Port hopes will bring expertise to the event, creating a strong musical atmosphere.

General entertainment will be heavily featured during the event, however, education will remain an important aspect. This could include booths from various Iowa State colleges speaking on various LGBTQ issues, as well as student organizations within the community.

Tyler McKnight, senior in advertising, is helping Port oversee the project and hopes the event will help fill an empty niche.

“It’s something that Ames is missing, and I think that it could help define the city as a whole,” McKnight said.

One of the several guests who gave input toward the various aspects of the gathering, Iowa State graduate and Ames community member April Anderson hopes the event will create a more connected town.

“It can hopefully create inclusivity within the university and the city,” Anderson said. “As a grad student staying in town, it’s hard to know who is safe and OK to talk with. It would help for queer students who need to find others to connect with.”

As a first of its kind of opportunity, Port hopes to get the project moving by the end of the week. Those who wish to give input toward the production of the Ames pride week may email suggestions to [email protected]