Welcome to the 2017-2018 Academic Year!
What is community? Why is community important? What purpose does it serve? Why should you use your precious time building community? Because it changes lives.
Over the course of the last five years, I have had the great opportunity to witness the change community can make. Community for me means this;
Community builds a sense of belonging. As human beings we need human interaction. Some of us like more than others, but having a connection to other people is important. Having a connection with people that share your same life experiences is trans-formative. Have you ever walked across campus and ran into someone that is lgbtq+ and felt a kinship to them? That is community.
Community facilitates mutual support. Nobody knows how LGBTQ+ Faculty and Staff experience campus better than other LGBTQ+ Faculty or Staff Members. Being able to connect with those who have experienced coming out in the workplace, have dealt with hostility from students for being gay or have counseled students who are new to being queer helps us to avoid mistakes that others have made and find new ways to make campus better for all.
Community allows us to gain strength and influence. I heard someone once say "This is your world. Shape it or someone else will." When we share our ideas and move together to make positive changes, we have more leverage. Coming together as a group, we can make our ideas stronger and can affect real change.
Community is a place where we can gain specific knowledge. Being able to talk with others and share stories is one of my favorite things. I love hearing about people's experiences on campus. I even want to hear the bad stories because it is fuel for my passion to make positive change on our campus.
Community is an outlet for giving back. The council produces a multitude of events throughout the year. We coordinate socials, book clubs, speaker panels and new this year, we are hosting a blood drive that will bring awareness to the outdated laws about gay men donating blood. None of us could do these things alone, and there is currently no paid staff on our campus to do this work for us. It is vitally important that lgbtq+ Faculty and Staff continue to build this community so that programs like this can exist.
Right now, our community is small. We don't have a good handle on who the lgbtq+ people are on our very own campus. I hope that you will consider getting invovled in our community, not only so we can get to know you, but also so that we can help you feel what this community is all about.
Welcome to the 2017-2018 academic year. I hope it is a great one for you!
Chair, LGBTQ+ FSC, IUPUI