UPenn Hosts First IvyQ Event
Four hundred students—some in crimson, some with bulldogs emblazoned on their shirts, others in Big Red or Big Green—swarmed the University of Pennsylvania campus last weekend for the first annual IvyQ conference.
The student-organized conference brought together LGBT students from the eight Ivy League schools to discuss their different approaches to nurturing an LGBT community.
The conference included speakers from the Human Rights Campaign, the Associated Press, and the Walt Disney Company, as well as workshops and social events to create a united pan-Ivy LGBT community.
Marco Chan ’11, co-chair of the Harvard Queer Students and Allies, worked with LGBT leaders from other Ivy League schools to plan the conference.
“We never imagined that in a year and a half it would happen for the first time, and on such a big scale,” he said.
Benjamin S. Bernard, a Yale junior and board member of Yale’s LGBT Cooperative, also said he thought that the outcome was impressive.
“The number of people who formed what I think will be lasting connections was very exciting, and I felt like I got to watch the articulation of a community,” he said.
Student representatives said that the chance to collaborate with other members of the Ivy League LGBT community was a valuable opportunity.
“What was surprising to me was that, despite having such different resources and institutional structures, how much we all had in common in terms of the challenges we face and the goals that we have,” Bernard said.
“This is the beginning of a much longer-term process of a connection between these schools that I don’t think existed there before,” he added.
Harvard QSA secretary David L. Orama ’12 said that the conference allowed the attendees to learn about the LGBT resources available on other campuses.
“Most of the other schools have a dedicated building and we have a nice little room in a basement,” he said.
Chan said that Harvard QSA members were glad to learn from other colleges’ experiences about how to start a staffed LGBT space on campus.
“We’re invigorated to continue activism and social events on our own campus and excited to see IvyQ again next year,” said Columbia Queer Alliance treasurer Sean Manning Udell, who helped organize the conference.
Manning Udell, Bernard, and Chan all expressed interest in hosting the conference at their respective universities next year. They also said they hope to include other schools in the future.
“I think it was a good starting point,” Orama said. “I’m hoping it’ll be something big that continues every year and I can go back and think about how I was part of the first one.”
—Staff writer Alice E.M. Underwood can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.