SAGA seeking to build ‘syndicate’ with local schools

These last few weeks have been very important for CFHS SAGA leaders. Standing for Sexuality And Gender Awareness, SAGA is an LGBTQIA+ support group for those in the community along with an education group for allies of the community. Recently the group leaders—Phoenix King, Charlie VanHooreweghe, Nichole Taylor, Eden Davis, Aussie Haworth and myself—have been working on creating strong ties with other local GSA’s or Gay Straight Alliances. These groups include Peet’s GSA, also known as SAGA, and Waterloo West’s GSA. 

The first meeting was with Peet’s GSA Monday, Feb. 7. Leaders traveled to Peet Junior High School during third and fourth period on Monday to meet up with Peet’s GSA starting with their adviser Megan Bowden. After a brief meeting with Bowden, the leaders moved to another classroom where over the course of Power Hour they met with the middle school’s leaders, Nohle, Sophia, Ruthie and Willow. 

The two groups then spent the hour collaborating, with CFHS SAGA leaders presenting on the way meetings at the high school work, how organization works for the upperclassmen leadership and the goals that SAGA has and plans to meet in the 2021-22 school year. Leaders also met with students after the presentation allowing them to ask questions about signing up for SAGA, general meeting things and even just some ice breaker questions such as favorite animals, color and what animals the leaders would be if they had the option. 

After the fact, CFHS SAGA leaders then met with Bowden to discuss more in depth plans about Peet developing a constitution, a fundraising plan and a stronger leadership group, along with informing them of upcoming events such as the trip on the Hill, GSA con and SAGA’s governors conference party. 

SAGA’s next meeting was the following Saturday, Feb. 10. SAGA met at the local Starbucks on University Ave. with leaders from West’s GSA. Lara, Percy and Hailey were warm and welcoming even though the meeting was on SAGA leaders’ home turf. After drinks were ordered and served, a fantastic conversation struck up lasting nearly an hour. 

From 5:30 to 6:30, the leaders conversed casually about several GSA matters. The meeting covered handling rowdy members, planning activities, self advocacy and sharing resources for name changing, fundraising and how to spend that money. 

In the end both groups left endowed with knowledge, friendship and plans for the future. On top of the professional meeting, the SAGA leaders also chatted with West leaders, the light conversation helping to develop a strong bond. 

Of course, one big plan stuck in everyone’s minds by the end of the night was West’s idea for a local GSA dance. However, details are not yet ironed out, so that is currently being left on the back burner as both groups move forward with their own agendas. 

The next plan of action for SAGA is to meet up with Holmes and potentially East’s GSA’s, depending on if either school has an organization and if they are willing to collaborate with SAGA leaders across the board. The SAGA leaders have chosen to start this project because they “want to develop a stronger support system locally that is student run and doesn’t just rely on Iowa Safe Schools or others outside of the local GSA’s.” As time passes they are excited to grow their group and the overall syndicate.

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