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STUDENT

Spotlight

by Sara Carney

Broad Spectrum: Celebrating Diversity in Veterinary Medicine

Broad Spectrum What started off as a plain t-shirt with a simple logo on the front and the words “stand up for diversity” on the back soon became a work of art. Students at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) gathered at the annual “Show Your Colors” event to tie-dye shirts. But, the exercise was more than a social event. Instead, it highlighted how different people—and their colors—can come together and create something greater. “The various colors come together and make something beautiful. Even though we’re all unique, we share many similarities,” said Angela Harrington, a fourth-year veterinary student. The Show Your Colors event is hosted by Broad Spectrum and reflects the mission of the student-led organization. The aptly named student group has positioned itself as an umbrella organization, open to those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, including allies who may not consider themselves members of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) community. In addition to celebrating diversity, the group raises awareness about GLBT issues in the veterinary community. It not only provides a safe space, but also educates others about the important role of the GLBT community in veterinary medicine. “We are here for everyone who has been different or has been bullied, or doesn’t feel like they fit in,” said Harrington, who is also the former president and 4vm representative of Broad Spectrum. “If you just want to come support and be our friend, that’s what we’re here for too.”

New Name, New Focus Formerly the Lesbian and Gay Veterinary Medical Association or GLBT Vets, Broad Spectrum rebranded themselves in 2015 to better reflect their mission of 50 •

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inclusiveness and diversity. The group was particularly interested in expanding their reach to the ally population. “Most of our membership is from allies, so we do really count on that support,” said Harrington. “We also wanted to include faculty that wanted to be supportive of Broad Spectrum.” As hoped, this rebranding attracted a number of new members. “We’ve always had difficulty getting people involved, especially from the ally population, but we were very encouraged by the result of the Show Your Colors event,” said Broad Spectrum President Austin Hardegree. Harrington, who has been involved in the group since her first year of veterinary school, has seen this transformation first hand. “In my first year, there wasn’t a lot of involvement,” she said. “There has been more interest over the past two years. We have a lot of people saying ‘Hey, I want to get involved. How do I do this?’” That supportive spirit is what has motivated many of the group’s members to become involved. Harrington initially joined the group in the hopes of finding friendship, and then became a representative of the group as a first year veterinary student. Similarly, former treasurer Sarah White joined the group to show her support. “I really joined the group to find solidarity,” she said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people that say, ‘Oh, that’s just for gay people.’ Well no, it’s not just for gay people. It’s for anybody that wants to take a stand and show solidarity with a minority on this campus.” In many ways, Broad Spectrum is like other student groups. Its members attend field trips, socials, and educational events. In particular, the group is actively involved with Chimp Haven, the national chimpanzee sanctuary. They take field trips to Chimp Haven and support regular donation drives.

CVM Today - Winter 2017  
CVM Today - Winter 2017  

A semi-annual publication for the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends of the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical...