Continuing its engagement efforts with the LGBTQ+ community, the Poole College of Management hosted its first Pride Homecoming this fall in collaboration with the GLBT Center. Held on November 5, 2019 during Red and White Week, the get-together included a happy hour at the Aloft Hotel with nearly 30 guests, followed by a gathering at the Homecoming Tailgate.
The theme for the event was “The Return of the Pack,” with a vision from the Poole College of Management and the GLBT Center to mix and mingle and welcome back alumni. Several NC State staff members from both the college and the center attended, as well as founding GLBT Center Director Justine Hollingshead, now assistant vice chancellor of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs.
GLBT Center Director Jonathan McCorey, who helped organize and support the events, says, “It was great to see the mix of attendees and the excitement that this was happening. We had some older alumni as well as recent graduates. They shared stories of then and now, and it was interesting to see the past and present colliding. Because of things our alumni did, we are able to be in the spaces we are in now.”
McCorey describes the unique benefits of alumni-focused events, such as knowledge, “the most powerful thing you can pass on to someone — how to practice resilience, how to navigate fields, especially those that may not be perceived as inclusive, and passing on that knowledge to students to help them navigate those spaces. It’s pretty priceless.”
He applauds the efforts of the Poole College of Management’s diversity and inclusion team, led by Tayah Butler, and welcomes more collaborations across the university. In particular, he welcomes anyone who is interested in serving on a committee or making a donation for alumni activities to contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. New donors can still receive a commemorative Pride Homecoming tumbler (pictured).
In October 2018, the Poole College of Management launched its Poole Pride campaign with Ally buttons and Pride stickers to commemorate National Coming Out Day. With these initial efforts toward greater LGBTQ+ inclusion, the college didn’t stop there. It also invited students to share their preferred pronouns for use in communications from the college, even though students are not yet able to use their preferred pronouns in the university-wide student information system (this capability is in progress).
In March 2019, the college hosted its first Poole Pride Conference for professionals and students interested in learning more about and supporting the LGBTQ+ community. The half-day event provided two tracks of sessions, a “Path to Empowerment” and a “Path to Allyship,” each with workshops and discussions.
In the future, initiatives such as an LBGTQ+ career fair and an alumni board could expand the array of offerings for the community. McCorey emphasizes the importance of working as a collective to come up with great ideas, and also the need to be welcoming and supportive. His philosophy is to “call out injustice, call people in and give them an opportunity to grow” so that they in turn can give back later on.