A newly created student council will convene in the fall to advise the Office of BGLTQ Student Life and the College more broadly on issues concerning Harvard’s bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and queer community.
The Queer Advisory Council, or QuAC, will be made up of 13 voting undergraduate members drawn from BGLTQ-identified student groups and the College community at large.
The Council was created in line with the Office of BGLTQ Student Life’s goal of helping make sure that the Office is “keeping our finger on the pulse on what it is that’s actually going on with students,” according to Kevin D. Tervala, a graduate intern for BGLTQ student life who will advise the Council.
In addition to its advising role, the Council will award grants to student groups looking to host events related to the BGLTQ community. The grants will be funded by the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, Tervala said, although the specific monetary amounts are still “a little bit up in the air.”
The Council’s meetings, which will be open to any interested Harvard affiliates, will also aim to serve as a space for discussion among student leaders and members of the BGLTQ community. Tervala said he hopes the Council will meet at least once a month.
Tervala called the Council a “student-driven effort,” and said that students will guide the group’s direction when it convenes in the fall. He predicted that the Council will likely in part become a space for students to discuss College policies, such as gender-neutral housing. Such discussion, he added, will help inform Director of BGLTQ Student Life Van Bailey of students’ opinions. Bailey was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
The eight BGLTQ-identified student groups that will each send one representative to sit on the Council include the queer Jewish organization BAGELS; the peer counseling group Contact; GirlSpot; Gay, Lesbian, or Whatever (GLOW); Harvard College Munch; the Queer Resource Center; Harvard Queer Students and Allies; and the Trans Task Force. Five additional “at-large” members will be chosen in September from a pool of applicants from the undergraduate community as a whole.
Tervala expressed enthusiasm for the Council’s potential to positively impact the BGLTQ community in the upcoming semester.
“It’s such a wonderful opportunity,” Tervala said, “and I think it will serve as such as a phenomenal resource, not only as a source of money for people, but I think more importantly as just another space where people can come together and talk through issues as a group.”
—Staff writer Madeline R. Conway can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MadelineRConway.