Firstly, let me take a moment to congratulate the graduating class of 2018. At our annual Pride Awards and Lavender Graduation ceremony this year I was blown away by the number of students in attendance. As we all packed into The Miller-Ward Alumni House the sense of community and acceptance electrified the rooms. Students and alumni mixed and mingled, and occasionally let out cheers of glee as they spotted old friends from across the room. The entire evening remind me of why I got involved with GALA and the Alumni Association at the beginning.
I don’t think anyone would disagree that when you first graduate and start “adulting,” life is hard. You have to fight through endless amounts of traffic daily, begin to pay back student loans, and, of course, all while trying to be social in your non-existent free time. GALA provided me an escape from those struggles. Over my involvement, this organization has expanded and strengthened my social network, introduced me to longtime LGBT activists, and most of all given me a close knit group of friends in an even closer knit community.
It is because of these wonderful experiences with GALA that I write this letter with a heavy heart. Due to an impending relocation related to personal opportunities elsewhere, this is the last month I will be your co-chair. In my place are Maury Weil 68C and Neil Vasudeva 16B. I am confident that these two longtime volunteers will fulfill GALA’s mission of maintaining and expanding a network of alumni in order to organize, serve, and advocate for Emory’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community. On a more personal note, I can’t wait to see what work they accomplish!
We do have some openings on our executive board, so I urge anyone interested in getting involved with GALA to reach out to myself, Gloria Grevas of the EAA, or our new co-chairs about how to get involved.
Yours in Pride,
Ryan Rusiecki 13Ox 15C
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory’s LGBT+ Alumni