Spring is nearly upon us, the time when a dead world is remade and the old becomes new. Similarly, Spectrum, a group for queer individuals and allies at The College of Wooster, is taking the opportunity to make itself anew, starting with a name change to Queer Student Union (QSU).
“We changed the name in an effort to rebrand and distance the new and improved group from the issues it has had in the past,” said Alex Kaufmann ’17, QSU’s Public Relations chair.
While Spectrum has been an on-campus resource for queer students, not all students have felt that the opportunities provided by Spectrum were satisfactory.
“Spectrum did not represent the queer community properly,” said QSU Vice President Acadia Braxton-Barto ’17. “There have been several years of bad leadership, poor PR and an overall non-inclusive feel that has created a disconnect between this group and the community.”
“There have been issues of cliquishness in past years, as well as a focus that did not benefit the queer community as a whole,” added Kaufmann, concurring with Braxton-Barto’s sentiment. “The new board is dedicated to making sure that QSU does not do this again. We want to create a space that the queer community on campus deserves — one where queer students feel comfortable and safe, and one where they feel properly represented.”
So what is QSU doing to become a more welcoming space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community? First, it is trying to ensure that it focuses on issues that are important to the queer community. For example, they are hoping to collaborate further with the administration on issues related to residency at the College.
“As a board, we believe there are several issues our group should be confronting in the administration,” said Braxton-Barto. “We do want to work with Res Life to clean up the gender neutral housing applications and to make sure there’s at least one gender neutral bathroom in every dorm.”
“QSU’s advisor is Angela Johnston, secretary of the College and chief of staff, and we plan to continue having a close relationship with her,” added Kauffman. “Angela is also dedicated to making sure that QSU serves the campus community well.”
However, a group is nothing without its members, and Spectrum’s on-campus reputation has alienated those whom QSU is looking to include in its future endeavors.
“The largest issue that we are currently facing is very low participation from the campus community,” said Kauffman. “We will be doing our best to raise membership. We’re currently planning an open house event where we will introduce ourselves as the new board to the campus community. Additionally, I will also be starting an advertising campaign to help raise numbers.”
It remains to be seen whether these efforts will bear the fruit that QSU’s board members hope it will. QSU is holding an open house tomorrow at 5 p.m. in Lowry 119.