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Meet: Taryn Urban

1. Can you tell us a little bit about what the Gender and Sexuality Alliance does on campus and your role as President?

GSA primarily functions as a safe space for LGBTQ-identified students and allies to find community and talk about issues related to the community.  Aside from that, we aim to increase visibility of the queer community on campus and to educate people about LGBTQ+ rights.  We have a lot of discussion meetings about important topics such as coming out and the intersection of queerness and race.  We also try to educate the wider Bucknell community with events such as our annual Trans* Awareness speaker (November 12th, don’t miss it!) and our involvement in this year’s Spotlight on Human Rights.  Lastly, we organize social events, like our spring Drag Ball.

My job as president is mostly to stress out and send lots of emails.  I have to give lots of credit to my fabulous executive board, because everybody plays a major role in coming up with ideas for meetings and events, and generally keeping me sane.  In addition to planning these things, it’s my job to make sure our executive board meetings are productive and that we get things done in a timely fashion, and I’m also the primary contact for the organization, so I deal a lot with collaborations between groups and inviting other organizations to our events.

2. What has your experience been with Bucknell’s campus culture and how has being a part of GSA impacted that experience?  

During freshman year, I definitely felt a little excluded from the Bucknell community, because I didn’t really fit into the mold of the athletic, socially competent party girl (I’m not trying to say that everyone at Bucknell is like that, but for me, it seemed like that was the archetype that dominated the social scene).  GSA definitely helped me find a niche.  Going to meetings was one of the highlights of my week, and I made a lot of great friends there.  Not only were they friendly and welcoming, but it was really great to finally be surrounded by other queer people, since I only had a few queer friends in high school.  And now I get to live with those people in Fran’s House, the LGBTQ affinity house on campus!  Last year I often felt like an alien in my own hall, but this year I actually feel like I have a home on campus, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the welcoming queer community here.

3. How do you want to see Bucknell culture evolve, and what can we do to help make it more accepting and inclusive? 

I’m very pleased with all of the recent attention that has been paid to issues of inclusion and diversity, and I can confidently say that our school boasts a lot of amazing students who are dedicated to social justice.  However, I would like more people to stand up against those who continue to ignore issues such as racism, sexual assault, and transphobia.  Campus events that promote diversity are great, but students need to hold themselves and their friends accountable for perpetuating the social climate that allows these forms of discrimination to persist.

4. What advice do you have for a student who does not always feel comfortable and included in our campus culture? 

I’d say to keep your chin up, because I can guarantee that there are other people here who feel the same way.  If you happen to feel isolated because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, I encourage you to come to a GSA meeting or event.  Unless otherwise specified, they’re open to everyone, and you don’t need to be a regular member to attend.  We also have smaller breakout group meetings every week for specific identities.  You can find information about all our events on our pages on Facebook and the IN Network, or you can shoot me a Facebook message if you ever have questions, and I’ll be happy to answer.

Quick Questions: 

  • #1 thing on your Bucknell bucket list: Get President Bravman to perform at our drag show.
  • Favorite spot on campus:  The Sapphic Suite – some of you will understand.
  • Little Known Fact: When I was a little kid, I thought that as soon as you were born, someone created a tombstone for you and put it in a cemetery to save a spot for your body until you died. 

 

What's up Collegiettes! I am so excited to be one half of the Campus Correspondent team for Bucknell's chapter of Her Campus along with the lovely Julia Shapiro.  I am currently a senior at Bucknell studying Creative Writing and Sociology.   
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