UF Pride Awareness Month Hosts Olympic Gaymes

Scattered around the floor of a room on the lower level of the Reitz Union, clusters of University of Florida students silently and frantically gestured to communicate to their team members.

“Is it Mardi Gras?” one girl asked her team member, who was gesturing to her neck and then making a tossing motion. The team member shook her head.

“Oh, it’s pride parade,” the girl finally called out. Her team member broke into a smile, nodding with enthusiasm.

This is what charades looked like at Olympic Gaymes, which took place on March 14 and is one of about 20 events the Pride Awareness Month staff is putting on through April 15.

About 20 participants were divided into four teams upon their arrival.

The game night included events such as a word game in which participants had to make a sentence based on the letters in words like “queer” and “lesbian.” There was also a scavenger hunt where team members had to take photos around the Reitz Union.

Dante Leventini, a senior horticultural sciences major, said he came to the event for community bonding. This isn’t his first time at PAM events.

“It’s a fun time with fun people,” Leventini said.

RecSports donated prizes for the game night, including buttons, tote bags and card holders for phones. Other prizes included PAM merch such as buttons and stickers.

Everyone who attended the event had an opportunity to receive a prize for participating.

Peri Smith, a sophomore anthropology major and PAM staff member, said the event was originally planned for last year’s Pride Awareness Month. The staff decided to cancel the event because it was scheduled for the same day as the March for Our Lives event.

“A bunch of people wanted to go to the march instead, which is totally understandable,” Smith said.

Smith said because most of the planning for the game night took place last year, the staff members’ preparations were mainly gathering supplies and ordering food.

PAM will host other events, including a drag show and a workshop on disability justice.

Julia Catuogno, a junior psychology major, is the PAM programming chair and was in charge of planning the event.

“We want people to come have fun and just kind of destress from class,” Catuogno said.

Catuogno was on PAM staff last year and decided to take a larger role in the preparations for this year’s events.

“I wanted to keep things up this year,” they said. “I want to make a change on campus for the LGBTQ community.”