The Lambda Alliance elected College sophomore Dawn Androphy to be its new chair Tuesday night. Lambda acts as an umbrella organization for nine constituent groups that focus on LGBT issues, but also as a political group that works with the administration on LGBT rights issues.
The Daily Pennsylvanian sat down with Androphy to discuss the upcoming year and the new board.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What are some of your main goals for this upcoming year?
Dawn Androphy: Our biggest goals are to keep on pushing the faculty diversity action plans and we’re also pushing for more supplier diversity.
Another big focus for me is issues for transgender students. I’ve been working with administrators and the Undergraduate Assembly to allow transgender students to use their preferred name on rosters and Penn Cards.
We also want to bring a lot of visibility to issues about HIV and AIDS because currently a lot of the rhetoric around LGBT rights in this country is focused around gay marriage.
DP: Lambda had raised its concerns about a lack of LGBT representation in the Action Plan for Faculty Diversity and Excellence earlier this year. What’s been happening with the plan since then?
DA: We’ve been working with schools individually. We’ve had a lot of success with Wharton recently by partnering with one of our constituent groups, the Wharton Alliance. So we just keep trying to push on the administrative level and bringing that up in all the meetings we have.
DP: What is supplier diversity and what do you specifically want to achieve there?
DA: Currently, Penn has a lot of initiatives to [buy] from minority-owned businesses in the Philadelphia area, but there are not many women or LGBT-owned businesses. So we just want to make sure when Penn’s choosing who to purchase from that this is a consideration, in addition to minority businesses in the area. We just want that extra level of consideration.
DP: Why are you choosing to focus more on transgender students for this year?
DA: I feel that in the LGBT community at Penn, the T is left out. So I want to make sure that we’re creating more visibility for trans students and we’re creating initiatives to make Penn a more comfortable place for trans students. I think we’ve come a long way in creating a comfortable environment for sexual minorities, but not necessarily for people with different gender identities.
DP: What are some big events planned for Lambda next year?
DA: I would really like to collaborate with the 5B [Penn’s five main cultural coalitions] more. Having a strong 5B is very important because together all of our voices mean more. I want to do more events with HIV testing and bring awareness to the fact that HIV exists at Penn.
We’re [also] really excited about QPenn this year. We want to focus on having more collaboration with groups both inside and outside the Lambda umbrella. We want to have fewer events and more collaboration, because ultimately we want to reach out to as many people as possible.
DP: What do you hope to carry over from last year’s board?
DA: Last year was incredibly successful — we had health care passed for transgender faculty, and we also had our tax equalization that went through. We had a lot of really effective administrative efforts last year and we want to continue this.
DP: Any last thoughts about the upcoming year?
DA: We have a lot of new members on the board this year, but it’s not an inexperienced board. These are all people who have been leaders in their constituent groups and they’re coming to the Lambda board for the first time. I’m actually incredibly excited for this board. This is the most diverse board Lambda has ever had.
This article has been updated to reflect that Androphy said she was working with administrators — not admissions — on certain LGBT initiatives.
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