BY CAITLIN OLSON, STAFF WRITER
According to Campus Pride, the leading national non-profit organization working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex and asexual (LGBTQIA) relationships on college campuses, Augsburg is one of the top 25 LGBTQ-friendly campuses in the U.S.
A major contribution to this achievement is the annual Augsburg LGBTQIA Leadership Retreat which took place this past weekend from Sept. 29–Oct. 1. The weekend was an excellent resource for students looking to learn about important issues in the LGBTQIA community.
The retreat focused on leadership development, as well as explored intersectional identities and oppression through a social justice lens. Members of Queer Pride Alliance (QPA) and Queer Indigenous and People of Color (QIPOC) — both strong student groups on Augsburg’s campus — took part in the event.
Following a seven-year tradition, the retreat took place at Camp Friendship in Annandale, Minn. Throughout the weekend, participants attended studentrun workshops and engaged in challenging and critical conversations about the future of LGBTQIA on campus, changes they would like to see and their roles in the community surrounding Augsburg.
During the first day, folks used ice-breakers to familiarize themselves with fellow retreat-goers. One such popular activity asks participants to draw or write about what it means for them to be present at such an event. These represent unique and powerful insight, and many campers agreed that it was a chance to really show their true selves.
The second day provided a choice from a variety of valuable workshops like “Gender, Sexuality and Attraction,” “The Power of Language” and “Anti-Blackness in LGBTQIA Communities.” Between informational workshops, students ate meals, took part in more ice-breakers to form new friendships, had fun playing games, played trivia, colored or meditated if they needed some time to relax during the busy weekend.
The last day was made up of a series of workshops and caucuses. The first workshop was called “Polyamory and Consensual Non-Monogamy.” This was followed by two caucuses, the first regarded accessibility on campus and the second was a QPA caucus. This was a chance for students to make their voices heard by bringing up issues they felt were important.
The weekend was a success, and the accessibility of events such as the LGBTQIA Leadership Retreat are part of what makes Augsburg inclusive. If you would like to find out more about the groups that participated in the weekend, QPA meetings are held on Thursday nights from 5–6 p.m. in OGC 100. You can also email QIPOC at qipoc.org@ augsburg.edu.
Featured photo by Mike Grewe
This article first appeared in the Friday, October 6, 2017, Edition of The Echo.