An Independent School • Grades 5-12

By Latasia Lanier, Upper School student equity programs coordinator

Students at Lakeside Upper School have the option of participating in affinity, alliance, and learning groups, and the groups are an important part of students’ learning and community experience.

  • An affinity group is a gathering of people who share an identity and recognize that their identity affects the way in which they move through the world. Although members of the group may share an identifier, not everyone may share the same life experiences. Affinity groups provide opportunities for students to reflect on a shared identity and their experiences within the context of the school and our community.
  • An alliance group is a gathering of people who identify as members of a group and/or for people who support and stand in solidarity with that group.

While the Upper School affinity and alliance groups have adult advisors, they are led by students. In early September, student leaders introduced the groups to the Upper School community and issued invitations to join them. Groups may meet weekly or monthly during dedicated time in the Upper School schedule.

In the 2021-2022 school year, the following groups will meet:

Native American Student Alliance (NASA). A space for Native students at Lakeside to share common experiences and to promote greater awareness of Native Americans and Native American issues through sharing aspects of Native history, politics, language, art,  food, and more.

Latino-Hispanic Affinity group (LATISPA).  A place for Latine and Hispanic students to hangout, talk about experiences, and learn about each other’s cultures. Through a mixture of structured and unstructured meetings, along with bigger events, the affinity group strives to cultivate a strong Latine/Hispanic community that is safe, inclusive, and socially active.

South Asian Affinity Group (SAAG). An affinity space (and LAPS member group) to raise awareness of South Asian culture at Lakeside and create a supportive environment for South Asian students to share their culture and experiences. Learn more in this blog by former student leaders.

Black Student Union (BSU) affinity group. BSU is a safe and supportive place for people who identify as Black and African - American. They strive to celebrate the beauty, excellence, and strength of the Black community in all that they do. They hope to enrich and educate Black students as well as the broader community on the significance of cultural diversity here at Lakeside. Learn more in this blog by former student leaders.

Multicultural Initiators eXperiencing and Encouraging Diversity (MIxED). An affinity group for multiracial and multiethnic students to learn about their identity and talk about the unique dilemmas and experiences they encounter. They strive to create a sense of multicultural affinity within the Lakeside community and have fun.

Lakeside Asian-Pacific Students (LAPS) affinity group. An affinity group aiming to support Asian American and Pacific Islander students in the Lakeside community and celebrate and raise awareness of various Asian cultures and API identity through informal discussions, volunteer work, and social events.

Student Awareness Council (SAC). A group devoted to increasing awareness, conversation, and action about a wide spectrum of socio-political issues, specifically race, class and gender. SAC hosts biannual retreats on and off campus for students to engage in open dialogue about identity. Learn more in this blog by a former student leader.

Interfaith and Spirituality affinity group. A space for students from all sorts of faiths and spiritualties to discuss and share similarities and differences, to deepen their understanding of world religions, and to cultivate peace, compassion, and awareness in the Lakeside community. Learn more in this blog by student leaders.

Chronic Illness and Disability Affinity group (CIDA). A welcoming community space for all students on the disability spectrum, where members can engage in meaningful discussion about ability and illness, bond and connect with other students experiencing disability or chronic illness, and feel supported during times of need. They strive to deliver visibility, support, and joy to students who may struggle to find empathy and love elsewhere on campus.

Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever (GLOW). A safe space for LGBTQ+ members of the Lakeside community. Besides being a safe and inclusive space to all, GLOW serves an educational purpose as well, holding discussions surrounding sexuality and gender identity. They also offer support and a listening ear for questioning students in confidential meetings (BUNKER). Learn more in this blog by a former student leader.

Lakeside Anti-Racist Students (LARS). This group is a learning group open to all students of any race. LARS is a group of students at Lakeside whose goal is to unpack the complex systems of race and racial bias that govern the school and the general societal environment. Members are committed to the inclusion of all in this group. The group aims to guide members toward unlearning their unconscious biases and becoming anti-racist advocates, as well as striving together to develop skills as activists and organizers for more equitable schools and communities. Learn more in this blog by student leaders.

We encourage you to learn more about Lakeside’s affinity and alliance program: Read about the Middle School program, reach out to members of the equity and inclusion team, or learn about the parent and guardian affinity group program.

Affinity and alliance groups are part of Lakeside’s diversity, equity, and inclusion work. Learn about the current initiative, Our Work Together, and review the initiative dashboard at lakesideschool.org/ourworktogether. Find information about programming, student blogs, and DEI leadership at lakesideschool.org/diversity-equity-and-inclusion.