St. Olaf College | News

A new organization to REPRESENT. LGBTQIA+ people of color

Last year, five students met with St. Olaf College Assistant Director for Gender and Sexuality Jon Mergens to discuss what LGBTQIA+ people of color wanted to see on campus. They agreed an LGBTQIA+ student organization centered on people of color would help foster a stronger community. So this year they launched REPRESENT.

The new student organization’s vision and goals are clear: Create an inclusive community for LGBTQIA+ people of color on campus, discuss identity through race and sexuality, teach political activism, and understand the history of LGBTQIA+ people of color.

The logo for REPRESENT., a new student organization created for LGBTQIA+ members of the St. Olaf College community who identify as people of color.

“My wish is that REPRESENT. becomes a safe space, a chill space, and a welcoming space for people of color that are or are not out at home/campus,” says one of the five students who helped organize REPRESENT. “We want to host events that encourage a closer community for students of color. We want to create events that celebrate and highlight our differences and similarities.”

Student organizers note that the campus community has welcomed and embraced REPRESENT. While the group is finding its place on campus and developing programming, Mergens says he’s enthusiastic about its future and is excited to support it through the Taylor Center for Equity and Inclusion.

“The Taylor Center is excited for this group to flourish on campus to provide support and community to students on the intersections of multiple identities,” Mergens says. “We see a lot of potential for this organization to partner with others on campus to really bring an intersectional lens to conversation, programming, and community building.”