Navigating university life can be challenging for any student, but it can be particularly daunting for LGBTQIA+ individuals who may face unique obstacles and experiences. Recognizing this, the Pirates for Pride organization (P4P) provides a crucial support system for its members and community at Southwestern. The organization ensures that no one faces adversity alone by establishing a welcoming presence on campus. P4P aims to create a support network where individuals can seek guidance, find solace, and build resilience, ultimately helping them thrive academically and personally.

“Coming into college was scary for me. Being queer and in an openly queer relationship made me feel like an outsider. When I found out about Pirates for Pride, I immediately sent a DM to the president at the time. I asked if I could serve on leadership for P4P and was welcomed with open arms,” the current P4P President Em reminisces. “P4P felt like the only place on campus where I could dress and speak like myself and not face any judgment.”

P4P holds weekly meetings and several events every semester open to the SU community. The members hope to host larger campus events, such as a queer ball, in the coming years. “Our organization can be helpful for students who are queer but are not out of the closet. Knowing that people on campus are there for them, even if they do not attend, makes those students feel safer about their identity,” Em adds.

P4P Operates with the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Center on campus, falling under the Coalition for Diversity and Social Justice (CDSJ).

“CDSJ serves as an umbrella organization to Southwestern’s registered cultural and social identity organizations. We provide funds to these organizations, collaborate with them for events, provide them with general guidance and training, and help each organization to reach their yearly goals,” says Coordinator of Student Inclusion & Diversity and P4P Advisor Bri Pierce. With the assistance of the CDSJ, these student organizations can reach and impact more of the student population on campus and receive University-wide recognition and support through events such as Lavender Graduation.

“My student organization advising philosophy is ‘student-led, staff supported.’ The P4P organization lets me know what they want to accomplish, and I use my institutional knowledge and leadership development background to help them reach their goals,” Pierce shares.

At the heart of P4P lies a deep commitment to creating a haven for its members. The organization’s leaders have worked tirelessly to establish an inclusive environment where individuals of all sexual orientations and gender identities can share experiences, find support, and foster lifelong friendships. The organization ensures that every member feels valued, respected, and free to express their true selves without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Students can expect to see more P4P events this coming semester, such as Queer Trivia Cove Night, Drag Me to Bingo, Religion & Queerness, Trans Day of Remembrance event, and more. To learn more about P4P and their upcoming meetings and events, visit their Instagram @pirates4pride or email

If you feel alone or in a crisis, please contact the Counseling Center at 512.863.1252 or text HOME to 741741.

If you are LBGTQ+ identifying and in crisis, call 866.488.7386.