It is no secret that Wellesley has a strong LGBTQ+ community. We all know about the office of LGBTQ+ student life and its leader, Leah Fygetakis. This year, the office started a new student-led group called “Qconnect.” According to student leader Addie Pates ’19, the purpose of this group is to get to know other LGBTQ+ students in a more casual setting.
“The goal of these things that Qconnect has been putting on are for students who are LGBTQ+ or questioning to get to know each other and hang out in smaller groups which is some of the feedback we’ve been receiving in the past few years. At the beginning of the year, any students who wanted to filled out a survey about what kind of events they might want to do and see, and one of those events was an arts and crafts night, so here we are.”
Several students in attendance told Pates that this sort of programming was something they had been wanting for a while, and that LGBTQ+ events in the past hadn’t interested them. She went on to explain that that was why she thought it was so important to get student feedback.
“I believe that LGBTQ+ spaces for students should be made up of and made for the people in them,” she said. “It’s really important to me that the office is listening to students about what they want to do, and not just planning events they think people might want to go to. So that’s what we’ve been doing. We’re trying to get precise feedback from students and also being a peer connector means that I’m an LGBTQ+ student that’s trying to reach out to other people.”
According to Pates, in the past few weeks, Qconnect has held several different events ranging from a monthly book club to giant cookie making on Valentine’s Day to an LGBTQ+ music appreciation group with a sing-along. On Monday, Feb. 25, Qconnect held an arts and crafts night in the Beebe common room. About a dozen students of all different identities were there to make friendship bracelets, color, or just hang out and eat snacks and talk with other LGBTQ+ students. Several students were able to talk to each other and to Pates about problems they have had on campus because of their identities. Several students raised the issue of the culture of casual transphobia on campus and what we as students can do to support the transgender and intersex communities on campus.
According to Emma Jackman ’19, who attended the arts and crafts night and made a friendship bracelet, she wanted to be there to connect with other students on a more personal level and in a more relaxed way. She was there not only to hang out with old friends but also make new ones.
“I’m here, I’m queer, and I like arts and crafts,” she said, evoking the chant, “We’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” She continued on to say that she was excited to find out about and is so glad to be a part of Qconnect.
“I just really think it’s a great idea. I think we need something like this on campus and we have for a while.”
Pates stressed that Qconnect and its events are open to all students of all identities, including allies. Ally Claire Yang ’19, said she came to the event because one of her friends had been attending some Qconnect events and she wanted to check it out for herself.
“I think it’s really great because it allows people in the LGBT+ community to come together and just be chill; talk about things that they like together. Yeah, I look forward to hopefully coming to more of these events in the future.”
If you’re interested in getting involved with Qconnect, feel free to reach out by email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask to be put on the mailing list so you can hear about more events as they come up, including nature walks and hikes, movie nights, and potential field trips around Boston.