LGBT+ Speed Friending Event
By Cara O’Sullivan – LGBT+ President
In light of the current COVID restrictions it has been hard to organize in-person events, which is the main way our society members usually connect with others and make friends. Therefore, we decided to host a ‘LGBT speed friending’ event to encourage people to get chatting and really get to know each other. The event involved members of the society being split up into groups of 2-3 and left to chat for 5-10 minutes at a time, with the aim of each person speaking to every person at the event. The event turned out to be more popular than we anticipated! There was a bit of trouble with breakout rooms along the way, with some attendees being assigned to the same ‘speed friend’…who knew Zoom could be so confusing? I walked away with a lot more compassion towards my lecturers struggling to get to grips with Zoom, and an excitement to do more events like this in the future.
As the president, it was an amazing opportunity for me to really get to know the society members and gauge their opinion on what they would like from the society. Members came up with future event ideas and possible improvements in the running of the society, which was very helpful. I was also provided with the perfect opportunity to get to know the society members on a more personal level and it was the first time I spoke to many of them one on one, which was my favourite part of the social.
I would definitely recommend other societies to run a similar event as the members thoroughly enjoyed the event and conversation flowed more easily when we were back together in the main Zoom call. I feel as though this event was particularly popular as it offered a more relaxed form of socialising, especially for society members who prefer socialising in smaller groups of people or for those who may feel anxious speaking in larger groups. I think it’s important to have events that cater to everyone – whether they be more introverted or extroverted – to ensure that all participants feel comfortable and excited for events. I would definitely incorporate more one-on-one interactions in the future, as before I would tend to think of events catered for large groups, but this event opened my eyes to a whole new range of possibilities.
This was the first event in which we collaborated with the LGBT+ officers and the Trans and Non-binary officer. We look forward to hosting many more events with them in the future! Georgia-Rose Gleeson, the LGBT+ officers and Non-binary officer work closely together. Georgia-Rose was involved in the planning of ‘LGBT+ speed friending’ and we are all working together to plan more events that support and increase inclusivity of the LGBTQ+ community within Swansea University.