The Lambda Alliance — the umbrella organization for LGBT groups on campus — elected its new chair and board on Tuesday. College sophomore Hugh Hamilton sat down with The Daily Pennsylvanian to discuss how he hopes to lead Lambda next year.
Daily Pennsylvanian: What have you learned from past experiences that you can bring to the table as chair?
Hugh Hamilton: I was the vice chair of finance and development for the past year and a half and during that time, I learned a lot about different styles of activism. Being through two boards has taught me [to appreciate] the methods of other people and how they mesh together.
I sat on several funding boards and that really gave me great connections with other minority leaders on campus.
DP: What are some of the big events you are looking forward to?
HH: I’m really looking forward to QPenn, which is the LGBT cultural week in March. It essentially educates the Penn community on LGBT issues and it is really a celebration of our culture. That’s when we bring in a keynote speaker, who we have not yet decided on.
DP: Can you talk about some of the goals you have for the Lambda Alliance and its constituent groups?
HH: We basically want to foster a strong community and help our constituent groups wherever possible. We want to help all the constituent groups with publicity and be here as a resource.
We want to continue passionate advocacy for communities that are underrepresented. The reason it’s exceptionally difficult for transgender students is that queer people are generally a minority and transgenders face discrimination and ignorance from both the wider world and within our own community, which is something we are trying to change.
We’ve been working on transgender healthcare coverage for staff and faculty since last year and we’re following through on that. We’re partners with the Undergraduate Assembly in advocating for gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
One of our constituent groups is QPOC, Queer People of Color. It has been involved in some really meaningful event partnerships with some of the [Multicultural Greek Council] organizations and other constituent groups. These events have sparked a lot of dialogue and we’re really excited about the future of that group. We are making a lot of exciting progress on that front with QPOC and LGBT Colors project.
DP: Are there any changes that you hope to see for Lambda and any of its constituent groups?
HH: I would like to broaden our constituency and reach out to people, especially people who are currently involved in Greek life or other organizations.
We would like Lambda to have meaningful event partnerships with similar organizations, possibly with Greek organizations and other minority groups.
I would like to see a general PR campaign on behalf of our constituent groups in order to reach out to people who are struggling with identity issues.
Queer people are an invisible minority in most cases so what we are trying to do is have every person on campus know we are here as a resource, so someone struggling with these issues doesn’t have to do it alone.
DP: Newsweek has ranked Penn the gay-friendliest college in America. How do you plan to maintain Penn’s status?
HH: By continuing our tradition of not following the curve, but doing what we think is right. We cant look to our peers for the judgment for what is worthwhile to pursue — if it benefits the Penn community, we will pursue it. Sometimes that can be a big departure from established practices of our peer institutions.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.