As Katy Perry's hit song Firework filled the air, 150 members of the University of Waterloo community began marching in the World Pride Parade on June 29, 2014.
Situated before the Canadian Olympic Team on the parade route in downtown Toronto, the group were a colourful sight with yellow t-shirts that had “Rise Up” in black letters on the front. Rise Up was the message Pride organizers wanted to spread this year.
“The Federation of Students (Feds) contingent chose the song Firework by Katy Perry to represent that theme,” said Nicole Joron, special events coordinator, diversity and equity for Feds. “We had a choreographed dance to the lyrics that all of the marchers performed. Also, we had lyrics from the song on display on our truck and float.”
Each year Waterloo's Federation of Students organize a group of students, faculty and staff to march in the parade, demonstrating the diverse culture that exists within our University. This year there were two contingents set up – one by Feds and the other by the Engineering Society – to ensure as many people as possible were able to participate.
“Along with doing our part for a fantastic cause, the parade is also an opportunity for those on campus to meet new people and have fun,” said Joron.
For Feds President Danielle Burt, who was among the 150 marchers, the highlight was hearing the crowd join in the University of Waterloo cheer. “It was high energy all day from our volunteers, and school pride was at an all-time high,” she said. “Our team danced in the march for two hours without stopping.” The group was popular with the audience, and received many high-fives.
The World Pride Parade was a true spectacle with the largest number of participants yet. The parade started an hour earlier than in previous years to accommodate all of the entries.
Anyone who wasn't able to attend this year should mark June 2015 in their calendars and watch for the Feds announcement to take part in celebrating the Pride Festival with the University of Waterloo next year.
Photos courtesy of the Federation of Students