Now more than ever, strong, inclusive communities are important. With the UK in its third national lockdown and vaccinations for us young people just a small dot on the horizon, communities like Imperial College Union are essential to keeping us all happy and healthy.
Being LGBTQ+ complicated things for me, as I imagine it did for many of you. After three years of being openly myself here in London, I was forced to move back home for half of 2020, where I found myself pushing myself back into the box I emerged from when I came to Imperial. For me then, it was amazing to have access to the communities, clubs and societies that I love being a part of.
With the Leadership Elections coming up, now is your chance to get involved in these very communities and to provide warm, safe and inclusive experiences for students of all backgrounds. The Union has a huge range of roles to run for, something for everyone’s talents, goals and skills, including event planning, academic and welfare representation, managerial roles and even some more unique positions (one of my favourites is the Environmental Society’s Head Beekeeper – there really is something for everyone!) We, as LGBTQ+ people, are uniquely positioned to take on leadership positions and create change that benefits all students!
There are, of course, roles in communities specifically crafted for LGBTQ+ students; those in IQ, the student LGBTQ+ social society, and in the Union’s new LGBTQ+ Network, aimed at representing and providing support for LGBTQ+ students. Over my four years at Imperial, I’ve been involved in both, as IQ Treasurer in my second year and now, in my fourth and final year, as Community Engagement Officer for the LGBTQ+ Network.
Beyond these roles there are a whole host of communities and networks that would benefit from the unique perspective that LGBTQ+ people deliver. In my third year, I served as President of the Royal School of Mines Union, on of Imperial’s four main faculty Constituent Unions. Throughout my year as President, my experience as a gay man shaped how I led, drove me to ensure that the RSMU provided students with inclusive, safe environment, something which I thought the RSMU had struggled with at times in the past. It is our job, as student volunteers, to provide ALL students with wonderful, engaging experiences that they’ll remember fondly even after they leave,
So, ahead of the Leadership Elections 20121, let me urge all LGBTQ+ students to consider getting involved! Your unique perspectives and experiences can shape your communities, your societies and your Union. Your fellow students need you in these roles to create a better, more welcoming and more inclusive environment, where all students can be themselves with pride and strength.
Happy LGBTQ+ History Month, and get involved! Nominations have opened on 8 February, for all volunteer roles across the Union, here.