WKU Honors College launches new Out in Honors initiative for LGBTQ students

Out in Honors, the networking event for people in the Honors college that identify as LGBT, held in the multimedia room at the Honors College on November 11, 2020.

Sean Snyder

The WKU Honors College hosted the first Out in Honors Network initiative meeting Wednesday for queer honors students to network, share stories and discuss building more community bond.

The initiative meeting also discussed starting a leadership board and writing a constitution committing to be a safe space for queer students. The leadership board will work on building a support system for queer students and community bonds through meetings and events.

The meeting was hosted by Dr. Audra Jennings, the director of the Office of Scholar Development, who began planning in early August after a positive student response to a survey regarding queer honors students.

“The Honors College has a large LGBTQ population,” Jennings said. “It’s important to highlight everyone’s experience and make sure everyone can be themselves happily and safely on campus.”

It hasn’t been easy getting everything together. Covid-19 and the election has made student outreach harder, and with classes soon going all virtual, they’re having to get creative with future plans.

“Covid-19 has really slowed us down,” freshman Aurora Speltz said. “We’re hoping to plan fun things like movie Zoom nights over the long winter break. Some students may not be supported by family or out of the closet at home so it’s important to maintain a supportive group.”

The network’s goal is more than just support for queer students, but getting honors students involved in a safe environment.

“Starting this network has allowed me to reconnect with the Honors College,” sophomore Mckenna Tate said. “I wasn’t wanting to do anything even though we pay extra for the Honors College. Building a community like this makes me want to be involved so every queer student can have a positive experience.”

The Out in Honors Network is planning a Zoom meeting next week to further discuss the leadership council and constitution.

Sean Snyder can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @seanwsnyder