GSS Rainbow Reception


This past week, welcome-back events have been in full swing as students get accustomed to life on campus. Numerous organizations have had welcome meetings and events to encourage students to get involved this upcoming year. One of the most recent events was Rainbow Reception, hosted by Gender and Sexuality Services (GSS). Rainbow Reception has been an annual event since 2010, with an exception in 2020 due to COVID-19. Each year the event has grown more and more and is a great way for students to explore what GSS has to offer.

“Rainbow Reception is a welcome/welcome-back celebration of LGBTQ+ life at UNI. Simply put, it’s like a mini Pridefest geared specifically to the UNI community,” said Kalyani Kannan, who serves as the LGBTQ+ Student Services Coordinator. “A number of campus and community partners join us to host informational booths and provide swag items, and we have a brief program for a few campus leaders such as PhD. Heather Harback, NISG Director of Diversity Tristan Snell and GSS staff, to share a few words of welcome. We had a great turn-out and saw a lot of connections being made.”

Rainbow Reception is an important reminder to students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community at the University of Northern Iowa that there is a specific space on campus that offers a safe environment and support and access to many resources, as well as being a part of the local community. This reception serves as an excellent way for students to connect with each other and connect with the Gender Sexuality and Service staff. GSS will also be hosting many events in the future, and their fall semester schedule will be coming soon, with updates and information available of their Instagram @unilgbtq. GSS will also be attending the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Asexual College Conference (MBLGTACC), an LGBTQ-focused conference in Columbus, Ohio, in October. “Up to four students will be selected to receive support in the form of registration, travel and lodging for the conference. Undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in participating can download an application from our website ( or stop by GSS to pick up a paper copy,” Kannan stated. If you’re interested in learning more about GSS, they would love to see you. “Our space is located in Maucker Union 111N, which is on the plaza level/top floor. Hope to see you there sometime!”