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A night to remember: Brockport hosts inclusive Second Chance Prom

Students having a blast at Brockport’s Second Chance Prom. (Photo Credit: Mathew Hall)

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic many students lost out on their junior and senior years in high school. Prom, one of the most cherished traditions and memorable parts of high school, was either postponed or cancelled for students across the country, robbing them of that key experience. For some LGBTQIA+ students who did get a prom, their experience was overshadowed by the fear of expressing themselves fully and were unable to enjoy their night as their authentic selves.  

According to SUNY Brockport Associate Director of Prevention and Outreach Services Mathew Hall, the idea for this event came from several different perspectives. 

“When some students suggested having a makeup prom, and other students suggested having a pride prom, it seemed sensible to have an inclusive, welcome, Second Chance Prom to meet the needs of all of our students,” Hall said. 

Students were given a second chance at prom in the newly renovated Seymour Union Ballroom Saturday night. This event was co-sponsored by Health Promotion and Prevention Education/The Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Student Union Leadership and Activities and BSG. 

Table decorations at the Second Chance Prom. (Photo Credit: Mathew Hall)

The Second Chance Prom was disco-themed, featuring disco-era to present-day music and decorations, as well as a photobooth with disco-themed props for students to use. Students were able to get their pictures taken at the photobooth, which were printed for free. Table decorations included mini disco balls and light-up décor.  

According to SUNY Brockport junior Celia Smith, the balloons were a real hit. 

“I had a really great time. Funnily enough, the balloon decorations helped me make friends. I think we were all just really entertained by playing with the balloons, so it kind of brought us together,” Smith said. 

Popular line-dance songs played by the DJs, such as “Cotton Eye Joe” by Rednex, “Cupid Shuffle” by Cupid and “Wobble” by V.I.C., helped students come out of their shells and have fun on the dance floor. 

“I had a good time meeting new people that I go to school with since I commute, so I usually have a harder time making friends. It got even better after the DJ started taking song requests,” Smith said. 

Snacks and beverages were also available to students throughout the night, as well as other necessities.  

“We also offered free safer sex supplies and menstrual products to promote our online ordering system for students to receive free products to meet these needs,” Hall said. 

Although prom is usually held later in spring, this event was intentionally scheduled for late March, to be in line with Trans Day of Visibility. 

“Given the increase in legislative bills and public debate that are policing the existences and bodies of trans, we know LGBTQIA+ students are facing a period of uncertainty. To combat that, we wanted to create a safe and welcoming environment that demonstrates that we value, see and celebrate our queer and trans students, friends and peers on campus,” Hall said. 

With a second chance at prom, focused on meeting the needs of all students, the event was successful in bringing joy and a sense of community to those who attended. Through the college’s initiatives of offering free safer sex supplies and menstrual products, they demonstrated their commitment to supporting and valuing LGBTQIA+ students.

In this period of uncertainty, events like the Second Chance Prom serve as a beacon of hope and inclusivity for everyone on campus. 

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Cambrie Eckert, News Editor
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