On a hot Sunday in August, a group of NBCC staff, students, and alumni showed up loud and proud for Fredericton’s annual Pride parade. With bright green t-shirts, oversized sunglasses, rainbow fans, and sequins galore, they marched, danced, and revelled in the celebrations.
They also sent an important message: at NBCC, everyone is extraordinary, and everyone belongs.
“As an employee, it’s important to me that my employer participate in this celebration,” said Digital Marketing Officer Jared Goodman, who coordinated NBCC’s participation. “As a member of the community, it’s important to me that our students see us showing up in this space.”
Nurturing a culture of belonging was a cornerstone of NBCC’s most recent five-year strategic plan Together We Rise. NBCC committed to embracing diversity and inclusion, welcoming the individual experiences and perspectives of all members of the College community, ensuring that everyone feels valued and has opportunities to add value to the NBCC experience.
A lot of organizations say similar things, Jared noted, but NBCC puts it into action through its participation in events like Pride.
“You hear about ‘culture of belonging,’ but this makes me truly believe in it,” he said. “I know I belong.”
For those who haven’t always felt free to be themselves in the spaces they’ve had to occupy, the importance of a sense of belonging can’t be overstated, he added.
“It makes me so happy to think of that prospective student who maybe didn’t have the best experience in high school, seeing us show up in this space and knowing that they’re going to belong at NBCC.”
In 2019, Jared coordinated a group of staff to march in the Fredericton parade. After a two-year hiatus in the celebrations due to COVID-19 restrictions, he expanded NBCC’s presence this year by organizing participation in the Moncton and Saint John parades as well.
But he’s not finished. He sees plenty of opportunity for NBCC to grow in the LGBTQ2+ community.
“We can be bigger and we can be better….the more the merrier!” he said. “That community deserves for us to show up in the biggest way we can.”