Students have created a new senior honor society.
Carriage Senior Society is a new cultural senior society created for LGBT and ally students. It is meant to honor, connect and encourage seniors at Penn who have made a positive impact on the LGBT community. The brand new class will be inaugurated this week.
Spencer Stubbs, Nursing senior and co-founder of the Carriage Senior Society, noted that what makes this society different from some of the others is the emphasis not only on members of the Lambda Alliance and its constituent groups, but also students who have made an impact by being allies or openly gay leaders on campus.
“You can be an openly out gay male or female but be the head of a powerful group on campus. By being an out person in the community you set a certain example … as someone who shows leadership,” said Stubbs.
Jacob Tolan, College senior and co-founder said, “right now the goal is to get the strongest class we can, a diverse group of people who represent a lot of different LGBT communities and recognition for what they’ve done.”
This project has been the brainchild of the LGBT community for some time now. The idea first formed at a meeting with community members a few years ago while discussing how to improve LGBT participation on campus.
The co-founders came up with the name for the senior society from the Carriage House, the official name for the building in which the LGBT Center is housed on campus.
Stubbs and Tolan worked together with the community to decide what the society would look like and what its main purpose would be to ensure that it would be different from the existing cultural senior societies already on campus.
“One thing that we have to our advantage is that we’re so young compared to the other senior societies,” said Tolan. “We were able to look at the things they [have] done and their policies and pick and choose from the best ones.”
The society has already received more than 40 applications and hopes to take around 20 students.
Stubbs and Tolan, who will lead the deliberations, are looking for students who represent all four schools at Penn, are diverse in their activism and commitment to the LGBT community and are “enthusiastic people looking to push Carriage to grow and develop to be a sustainable senior society on campus.”
Applicants are excited for a society that recognizes LGBT activism on campus.
Russell Abdo, College junior and an applicant, said the society is “the next step in the right direction for fostering LGBT awareness.”
Although Abdo is not a member of Lambda or its constituent groups, he says this society would give him the opportunity to give back to the community and will act as a new resource on campus.
“Often times, if you’re not involved and constantly out and proud, you’re not acknowledged as an activist,” said Abdo.
For him, this is a chance to meet “this whole group of people united for the same cause” from different parts of campus.
“This is definitely filling the gap in the collection of senior societies on campus,” said College sophomore Dawn Androphy, the current chair of the Lambda Alliance.
“It’s really special to recognize the accomplishments of LGBTQ students at Penn specifically and [to] foster a community amongst those people who might not ordinarily meet each other.”
A previous version of this article stated that the Carriage House was the official name of the LGBT center. It is the official name of the building where the center is located.
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