Students at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business were seeing pink last week thanks to the annual school-wide PINK party, an initiative designed to raise awareness about the LGBTQ community at Booth. Sponsored by OUTreach, a Booth student organization for gay and lesbian members of the community and their allies, the PINK party took place this year at SPIN nightclub in downtown Chicago on Saturday, May 18th.
Booth students were encouraged to dress in pink and come out to support the LGBTQ community as part of what was billed as “the absolutely biggest Booth party of the year.” Wearing pink got you a free drink at the party; dressing in drag as part of the Drag Contest 2013 got you free admission and unlimited free drinks all night.
Drag contestants delighted the crowd with their dancing, lip-synching and outrageous costumes, and four winners were crowned Miss Booth 2013, Mr. Booth 2013, Miss Congeniality 2013 and Mr. Congeniality 2013. Carrie Lydon, Chicago Booth associate director of admissions, served as a judge for the contest. Funds raised by the PINK party went to the Safe Schools Alliance, a nonprofit organization promoting safety, support and healthy development for LGBTQ youth in Illinois schools.
As Lydon pointed out in a post to the Booth Insider blog, the PINK party is just one of several initiatives OUTreach conducts as part of its mission to help advance social and professional opportunities for members of the Booth LGBTQ community. The group co-organizes the Reaching Out Conference, an annual conference drawing LGBTQ graduate business school students from all over the world. More than 1,000 students are expected to attend the 2013 conference, which will take place in New Orleans in October.
OUTreach also works to raise support among allies of the gay and lesbian members of the Chicago Booth community. More than 230 Booth students have signed an ally pledge and agreed to have a rainbow ribbon posted on their locker, according to Lydon. “This subtle but powerful show of support is now visible to all students and visitors who see the locker room,” she writes.
The student group also hosts a variety of recruiting events with top MBA employers specifically targeting LGBTQ students, and it reaches out to prospective students visiting campus to help them learn more about the opportunities and resources available to LGBTQ students on the Booth campus.