In my first year of leading the FS Gender-Sexuality Alliance, I coordinated several community events for LGBTQ+ education. I helped organize our annual assembly and fishbowl discussion for 2017 Queers and Peers week. This year’s topic was media representation, and we discussed the effects of both positive and negative representations of LGBTQ+ people in media.
Moderating the community fishbowl discussion was a really eye-opening experience. It forced me to step back from participating and focus more on listening to others’ experiences. It really opened up more conversation about community engagment with the GSA, especially parents and faculty. I believe that leading the GSA and coordinating these events has encouraged me to stand back and allow others to share rather than always talking. I am planning to lead the GSA next year as well, and I hope to continue expanding our reach and helping the community.
The other members of my YPI group (I took the photo).
My YPI group chose the East Harlem Tutorial Program for our charity. They work to combat college inaccessibility and tuition rise. My YPI group originally wanted to focus on a different topic, but we eventually decided on college accessibility and tuition. Since it wasn’t our first choice, it felt at first like we were just settling for the next-best topic, but we quickly grew to appreciate the complexities and details of our issue. I had wanted to do a topic that focused on people and their feelings, so I was kind of dispassionate about college accessibility, an issue focused on money. However, over the course of the YPI project, I grew to see the effect that college accessibility has on young people, and I became more passionate about it. I realized that one of the reasons I felt so uninterested initially was my own privilege. Being able to afford college tuition has never been a prominent issue in my mind, as my family has fairly high socioeconomic status. Working on the YPI project really opened my eyes to what an issue college accessibility is. Researching the long- and short-term effects of college tuition rates was especially rewarding, as it really demonstrated to me the practical and emotional issues that stem from the rise of college tuition.