Q Camp Invites Incoming UC San Diego Students to Discover Campus’ LGBT Community
- Erika Johnson
- Erika Johnson - firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erika Johnson
The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center at the University of California, San Diego will host Q Camp on September 23, a day-long program for incoming LGBT freshman, transfer and graduate students as well as returning students who are newly out. The goal is to introduce students to LGBT life on campus as well as resources that support equity, diversity and inclusion.
One hundred students are expected to attend Q Camp, which was launched in 2002 to welcome and support incoming students interested in joining or learning more about the LGBT community on campus. The program is free for participants and is held the day before formal classes begin. The event includes a Q Fair featuring student organizations and campus resource center information booths; a Q&A panel; tours of the LGBT Resource Center, housing information and a workshop geared for graduate students.
Red Galura Jr., a UC San Diego alumnus, took part in Q Camp as a sophomore in 2005. The event helped connect him with peers he could confide in as he was coming out. It was also the first time he learned about the LGBT Resource Center and the wide variety of student organizations and LGBT resources on campus.
“Q Camp connected me with a community who helped me become the person I wanted to be,” said Galura. “After participating in the camp, I became heavily involved at the LGBT Resource Center, where I realized my passion for social justice.”
After participating in Q Camp, Galura was motivated to take on two leadership positions at the LGBT Resource Center. As a speaker’s bureau intern, he organized panels of diverse student, staff and faculty speakers to conduct open conversations with those interested in learning more about the LGBT community. He also served as the inaugural Audrey Lorde Intern for Liberation and Healing, a role that involved creating events and workshops to promote healing in areas such as body image, self-acceptance, coming out and more. The experience helped him clarify his goals, and he switched his major from bioengineering to sociology with an emphasis on social inequality.
“Q Camp is a way for us to welcome students and cultivate a sense of belonging among LGBT students, faculty and staff at UC San Diego,” said Shaun Travers, campus diversity officer and director of the LGBT Resource Center. “It is crucial to reach out to incoming students in the fall when they are looking to find peers to relate to and a place to call home.”
For the first time this year, Q Camp is completely supported by donations through CrowdSurf—UC San Diego’s new crowdfunding platform. More than $5,000 has been raised to support meals, supplies, literature and programming for students who will participate in this year’s Q Camp. In addition, two participants will also receive a $500 scholarship, to be awarded randomly at the conclusion of the event.
Galura has remained engaged at the LGBT Resource Center since graduating from UC San Diego in 2010. He was chosen as the alumni speaker for the 2014 Rainbow Graduation—a celebration hosted by the LGBT Resource Center for graduating LGBT students—and was instrumental in garnering support for this year’s Q Camp fundraising campaign. He currently works as a peer specialist for Next Steps Program, a nonprofit in partnership with the San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital that provides resources and health mentorship for those experiencing a mental health crisis.
Q Camp is one of many programs offered at UC San Diego’s LGBT Resource Center. The space is open to all members of the university community to explore issues relating to sexual and gender identities, practices and politics. It develops student leadership, builds workplace equity, promotes academic research and provides resources. The center challenges existing definitions of variant genders and sexualities by engaging in community building both on and off campus.
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