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.
- A learning group focuses on active self-education of its members using a variety of resources. Any person can participate in a learning group.
While the Upper School affinity and alliance groups have adult advisors, they are led by students. In the fall, student leaders introduce the groups to the Upper School community in a variety of ways. Groups may meet weekly or monthly during dedicated time in the Upper School schedule. In addition to participating in the Upper School groups, many affinity group members serve as facilitators in Lakeside’s Middle School affinity group program and mentor younger students.
In the 2022-2023 school year, the following groups will meet:
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.
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 all Lakeside students on the disability spectrum.
Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever (GLOW). A safe space for allies and members of the LGBTQ+ Lakeside community. Besides being a safe and inclusive space for 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.
Indigenous Student Alliance (ISA). A space for Native students at Lakeside to create community in shared experiences in order to help advance the understanding of our Indigenous identity, as well as make sure Native students and Native voices are represented at Lakeside in important conversations.
Lakeside Anti-Racist Students (LARS). This group is a learning group open to all students of any race; its 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. LARS 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 former student leaders.
Lakeside Asian-Pacific Students (LAPS) affinity group. An affinity group that aims 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. Learn more in this blog by a former student leader.
Latinx-Hispanic Affinity group (Latispa). A place for Latine and Hispanic students to hang out, 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. 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.
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.
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 and current student leaders.
The Interfaith and Spirituality affinity group is currently paused but may resume with student leadership.
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.
Latasia Lanier coordinates student equity programs at the Upper School. You can reach her, and all DEI team members, at firstname.lastname@example.org.