September 27, 2020

BY ALLANAH PINHORN

Conestoga College has long been a place of higher learning, preparing young and old minds alike for their future endeavours; for three Conestoga students their proving ground is the tri-Pride board of directors.

Kevin Bluck, Tori Denby and Charlene Le Duc are about to undertake their first term on the board for Waterloo Region’s annual LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) festival.

Called tri-Pride, it has been a LGBTQ celebration in the region since 1995 when a mere 86 people attended the first gathering at Kitchener’s city hall. It’s now the third largest pride celebration in Ontario, with more than 7,000 people attending the festival in 2012, rivaling Ottawa’s Capital Pride in size and scope.

The weeklong event, held every June in downtown Kitchener, includes live entertainment, food and licensed beer areas, silent auctions and the Miss tri-Pride pageant.

As two of the 17 members Bluck, a second-year public relations student, and Denby, who is in her second year of rec and leisure, are thrilled to be working with tri-Pride to plan and execute new events and keep old traditions, such as Lesbo Bingo, the GLOW Bonfire and Cliterature, going.

Both Bluck’s and Denby’s programs lend themselves to their new positions.

“I’m excited to put my skills to use,” said Denby, who will more than likely be working with volunteers and youth. “There is such a variety in what people’s strengths are and with those better resources we have better means to grow.”

Bluck agrees. “It’s exciting to be a large contributing factor to the growth of the event.”

Bluck will use his PR skills in promotions, publications and media-related endeavours within the community, a community that has been supportive and involved.

“Community, tolerance, acceptance, that’s it, I think, at the end of the day. It’s forging ties and bonds,” Bluck said.

“When passion drives you, you can go a lot further.”