Hilltop Leisure Center continues queer climbing parties – The Spectator


UW-Eau Clare’s Hilltop Recreation Center created a Queer Climbing Night event on its bouldering wall, opening up the space to the LGBTQ+ community.

Kicking off on April 5, the Queer Climbing Night event runs from 6-8 p.m. every Tuesday. The last event was on April 19 and the last event will take place on May 3 according to the recreation services page.

Emma Street, a recreational sports operations intern at Hilltop, said she created the event after being inspired by similar inclusive recreation programs at nearby universities to connect with the queer community.

“It never feels commercialized towards them. It’s a space where they can come and they can feel open with themselves and meet new friends,” Street said.

The Queer Climbing Night event has three goals according to Street: to allow queer students to make friends, to have a good space to train and to have a new experience.

This event was inspired by events at other nearby universities. UW-La Crosse hosts monthly gay recreational events based on their website. Their next event is a kickball tournament at their rec center.

According to Street, Queer Climbing Night also took direct inspiration from UW-Superior where she received her undergraduate degree. Superior held a weird ropes course that Street said went well.

Regarding UW-Eau Claire’s queer recreational event, Street said the event started as a way to make the recreation center more inclusive. This followed a Level 3 of Equity, Inclusion and Diversity certificate this street ends at UW-Eau Claire.

This program sparked the idea of ​​Queer Climbing Night according to Street. The EDI program is based on informing students on how to be more inclusive and create safe spaces according to the principles of the EDI program. website.

“It’s become something that I really enjoy being a part of,” Street said. “And make sure everyone is included.”

According to Street, the first night of the event saw around 12 people show up to climb. Street said it was impressive because publicity for the event only started two to three days before the event.

Advertisements for the event were produced in partnership with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, or GSRCto create inclusive marketing infographics, according to Street.

Ashley Ingerbrigtson, student leader at the recreation center, was part of the planning and implementation team for Queer Climbing Night.

“It’s great to open up the community to people we don’t see very often,” Ingerbrigston said. “It’s a great way to help them feel more comfortable coming to a place they might not feel comfortable going too.”

She said rock climbing and bouldering at Hilltop is mostly made up of white men, so Queer Climbing Night was a way to create a more inclusive and diverse community.

Street said the events so far have had good turnouts and the recreation center is in the process of continuing the event into the next academic year.

The final Queer Climbing Night will be from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on May 3 at the Hilltop Recreation Center’s bouldering wall.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected].


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