In response to a planned picket of “Ivy League Whorehouse Vassar College” by the Westboro Baptist Church, students, faculty and alumnae/i of Vassar College banded together to raise money for the Trevor Project. The goal was to raise $4,500 or $100 for every minute of the picket, and at the writing of this article that been exceeded by 1,857% with $83,585 raised.
The Trevor Project is the leading crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ youth and has received support from many notable faces. In 2011 Trevor awarded the Trevor Hero Award to Lady Gaga. Daniel Radcliffe is a Guardian of the organization (donates $25,000+ annually) and has appeared as a spokesperson on several occasions. And well-known public figures from Kim Kardashian to Kenneth Mehlman also donate upwards of $10,000 per year to the cause.
The recent fundraiser at Vassar was student led and organized, and has been far more successful than they ever imagined it would. Thousands of donors have added their donations, and the amount grows daily.
Vassar is known for its open support of LGBTQ students, employees, and alumnae/i. Acting President of Vassar Jon Chenette even sent a letter to the campus in response to WBC’s planned picket. “In the face of Wesetboro’s statements, we want to celebrate the inclusiveness of our community and the multitude of backgrounds, interests, and preferences that enrich our experiences,” it reads.
Students reflect a similar sentiment, and are ready to take on WBC next week. “The Vassar community is so creative and intelligent, and I look forward to working with students and staff to figure out a response that shows the strength and inclusiveness of our community,” said Judy Jarvis, Assistant Director for Campus Life.
The fundraiser is ongoing, and anyone wishing to donate to the cause can do so at the online fundraising site, crowdrise. Most donations so far range from $10 to $50, with a few rising into the $100+ range.