In honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, the gold dome of Siena Hall is being lit with rainbow hues throughout June. It is the start of a new campus tradition of dressing the dome in color for special events.
“It's great to see Siena celebrating Pride Month in a way that is visible not only to our students, but to anyone passing by our campus,” said Adam Casler, Siena's assistant dean of students. “Siena's Franciscan values of inclusion and acceptance help to create a welcoming and safe space for LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty members and this is a visible sign of that support for all to see.”
Casler said the College’s public support is especially important “in the wake of recent legislation in other parts of the country that seeks to limit education and awareness on LGTBQ+ issues.”
Alyssa Pastina ’23, president elect of Siena’s GSA, saw the Pride colors shared on Siena’s social media accounts and “absolutely loved them!”
“Being a queer college student can be difficult; there are a lot of challenges and discrimination that stand in your way. But knowing that my school is making an effort to stand with me and my community is really comforting. It’s great knowing Siena is on my side.”
The rainbow lighting scheme is courtesy of Michael Lounello ’17, technical director of college events and production designer. He installed four remote-operated colored LED lights in the Siena Hall tower with an assist from Jaime Cochran ’25. The lights have previously been displayed in the Foy Hall lobby to support past Pride months; yellow and blue lights shone this past spring as a gesture of solidarity with the people of Ukraine.
“Lighting is a concept that can go beyond the confines of the theater,” he said.
Now that the lights are installed in the dome and can be operated remotely, the College plans to display them for special occasions and messaging, in the much the same way that the Empire State Building in Manhattan is lit for certain holidays and events. A lighting policy is currently under development.
For now, though, the six colors of the rainbow will shine across the night sky in a significant gesture of support for a community that has been marginalized in society for far too long.
Sandra Misseri, assistant director of community living, is grateful for Siena’s pride and support for LGBTQ+ people.
“As a member of the queer community it is so good to see this visible action, which provides unspoken safety, support, and acknowledgment. It will make such an impact for not only our students, but for individuals in the surrounding area.”