Aiden Ciaffaglione is one of many students on campus involved in many campus organizations and communities. He is a member of the Residence Hall Association, a Resident Assistant, president of Wilde Stein and a full-time student. Although sometimes his participation in a number of organizations leaves him busy, Ciaffaglione is always willing to lend a helping hand or a bit of understanding to someone who needs it.
Ciaffaglione, of Southington, Connecticut, uses his involvement in the community to encourage students to expand their perspectives. As president of Wilde Stein, an organization for LGBTQ students, Ciaffaglione plays a role in a lot of activities that take place on campus. He enjoys what he does with this group.
“It’s honestly really fun. I basically get to organize meetings with the executive board, outside organizations, LGBTQ services, and other people to make sure that we have inclusivity and diversity on campus,” Ciaffaglione said.
He works with a number of people to run Coming Out Week, which is an upcoming annual week-long celebration of LGBTQ individuals openly embracing their identities. With an involvement in this particular awareness week, Ciaffaglione has a hand in planning a number of educational and cultural activities that will be taking place all over campus over the course of the week.
He will also be a part of Gay Thanksgiving, an event that offers a fun thanksgiving-style meal for LGBTQ students, who may not be accepted at home, and their allies. Another event that Ciaffaglione will be an organizer for is Transgender Day of Remembrance, which is a vigil and awareness day to remember transgender individuals who have lost their lives because of their identities.
Ciaffaglione describes his work as an RA in Oxford Hall as rewarding.
“Life as an RA is fun, I get to work with a really cool staff and a lot of people from different backgrounds, and help make this dorm a home away from home for a lot of people,” Ciaffaglione said.
This involvement in the community has allowed him the chance to offer activities to his first-year residents, including a workshop on safe sex in college. This position has also given him the opportunity to give a “queer peer education workshop” at a regional Residence Hall Association conference to further encourage diversity and spread knowledge about working with the unique challenges and situations faced by queer and trans students living on college campuses.
Ciaffaglione is just one of many students involved in campus organizations that raise awareness and offer resources to those who live or attend classes here at the University of Maine.
Wilde Stein meets Thursdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in the Multicultural Student Life Lounge on the third floor of the Memorial Union, and encourages people from all walks of life to stop by and join the conversation.