‘Glee’ inspires self-acceptance programs in residence halls

From writing poems to making T-shirts, students of the residential hall community came together on Tuesday night to explore and embrace their own identities in a positive environment.

“Born This Way,” an event started by Adam Cullian, sophomore in FAA, was based off of an episode from the Fox TV show “Glee” that promoted self-acceptance and tolerance to its viewers. As a residential assistant of Lundgren Hall, Cullian said he believes that it is important for students to learn how to appreciate their identities and accept their insecurities.

“I’m a big ‘Glee’ fan, and I was trying to think of a way to incorporate that show into a program that will mesh well with the ideals of University Housing,” said Cullian. “The idea is to get residents of different halls to look into themselves and accept themselves for who they are, and, hopefully, to accept others for who they are as well.”

Cullian originally intended for the program to take place in his own hall, but after spreading the idea around to his staff members and then to Leonard Clemons, resident director of Barton-

Lundgren Halls, the program took off and extended to all residential halls across campus. Over 75 people signed up to participate.

“We’re really excited to get this off the ground because it’s been gestating since the beginning of the year,” said Christopher Gozali, one of the coordinators of the event and junior in LAS. “We didn’t anticipate it to be this big.”

After watching clips from the episode, participants were asked to write an “I Am” poem, giving them a chance to define themselves and appreciate their identities. Shortly following, they were given the opportunity to make T-shirts portraying particular insecurities that they have, similar to the shirts made by the characters in “Glee.”

“I think it’s really cool that everyone here is able to celebrate the insecurities that they’ve learned to accept about themselves,” said Emma McMullen, freshman in LAS.

Darcy Redmond, freshman in LAS, agreed and said that she supports the promotion of self-acceptance.

“I decided to sign up because I believe in the cause,” she said. “I think [self-acceptance] is a really big issue right now, and I’m all for any event that celebrates that.”

Although the theme of this event may not be repeated exactly, many of the leaders in the residential community hope to have similar events in the future that promote self-awareness and tolerance. Among them is Greg Ballweg, another coordinator of the event and junior in Education.

He said he strongly believes in the exploration of identity and the acceptance of others.

“[Self-acceptance] is a theme in residential life. I think having events like this is a wonderful idea,” Ballweg said. “The environment that we’re creating is just incredible.”