Campus Life

LGBTQIA+ student organization revived by freshmen

Starting this semester, Oglethorpe’s LGBTQ+ student organization OUtlet will be revived, helmed by freshman Alex Nukpi ’24. The club had been on hiatus due to change in student leadership, but Nukpi reports they will be fully active on campus this semester.

OUtlet members and Petey the Petrel march in the Atlanta Pride Parade in 2015.

OUtlet has historically been many things: a meeting place for members of Oglethorpe’s LGBTQIA+ community, an educational resource for fellow Petrels, a place to find resources in the greater Atlanta community and, most importantly, a safe space.

“I created this club with intent to provide a positive space where LGBTQIA+ students can be unapologetically themselves,” says Nukpi, “I am really excited to start working with the OU students to make a positive impact on the LGBTQIA community.”

Other OUtlet officers include: Vice President Kike Hernandez ’24 (he/him), Secretary Sam Mccalla ’24 (they/them), Treasurer Ambrose Blanchard ’24 (they/vam/el) and ICC Representative Rachael Morris ’24 (she/her). The club’s advisor is Elizabeth Peterson, director of the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

The new leaders of OUtlet are ready to get started. Though plans are still in the works for the semester ahead, Nukpi and Peterson agree the opportunities are endless—especially with a greater focus on diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. With the recent addition of Laura Renée Chandler, PhD as the new Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, OUtlet will serve as just one of the many organizations dedicated to fostering an inclusive campus for Oglethorpe students.

The first OUtlet meeting for the spring semester will be Saturday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. Be sure to follow the new OUtlet on Instagram @o.u.tlet for upcoming meetings.

In related news, the museum’s Curator of Collections John Daniel Tilford developed and taught a new class for J-Term, the 200-level LGBTQ Art History. This course examines art from ancient to contemporary periods through the lens of an LGBTQ perspective. The intent of the course is to examine art and artists who are often left out of the mainstream art conversation. LGBTQIA+ artists have always been making art. Society doesn’t always recognize them.

“I was really excited to finally see a course that is inclusive of LGBT history,” says Julia Preston ’22, an art history student who took Tilford’s class, “It definitely showed me as well what a long way LGBT individuals have come in society in terms of being recognized and respected, and that there is still a road ahead.”

The course is slated to repeat in spring 2022.

LGBTQIA+ inclusion is an important facet of the diversity, equity and inclusion conversation at Oglethorpe. Students can look forward to more inclusive opportunities—for LGBTQIA+ students and allies alike—as Oglethorpe begins its spring semester.

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