Maureen Nolan, a junior Public Relations major, is instilling equality and tolerance throughout the Drexel community and beyond as the president of the Foundation of Undergraduates for Sexual Equality, commonly known as FUSE. As the only all-encompassing LGBTQQIA+ undergraduate org on campus, FUSE works to “foster learning and engage students in confidential and secure manner,” Nolan says.
Nolan began going to FUSE meetings her sophomore year where she fell in love with both the educational and social parts of the club. Last year as the club’s Events Coordinator Nolan worked with FUSE to organize events for Pride Week where she was able to work not only alongside Drexel students, but also with LGBTQQIA+ professionals and activists in Philly.
Once elected president, Nolan began creating educational programs and working with Drexel’s administration to make changes in the academic and social programs on campus to make a difference for LGBTQQIA+ students. These include the creation of gender neutral housing on campus and Drexel’s LGBT center. As president, she says she also helps students find queer resources around the city at large.
“Working with FUSE has been my favorite thing I’ve ever done at Drexel,” Nolan says. “Being engaged in the community through service and leadership has taught me so much about myself and who I want to be in the ‘real world.’”
Through FUSE Nolan has been able to be a presenter at the Trans* National Health Conference and be on a panel of student leaders. This year she was even nominated as Student Leader of the Year!
Though in her opinion she may be a bit biased, Nolan believes the FUSE students are “the most talented, driven, and well-rounded students” on campus! “I am especially grateful that I got to work with such a fabulous Executive Board this year. I try really hard to make our Eboard meetings as transparent as possible, so everything we have accomplished this year is a collaborative effort.”
Nolan has received just as much as she’s given to her FUSE experience. Through her organization, Nolan has been able to create relationships with Drexel faculty and her advisor which have helped her get co-op opportunities and practice her PR skills. Last year FUSE won Student Organization of the Year, which opened more doors and allowed her to foster even more connections under her time as president, in addition to giving the club more visibility.
As for her plans for the future, FUSE has changed Nolan’s outlook on that as well. “[FUSE] really helped me realize that my energies are best spent promoting LGBTQQIA equality and inclusion, not only for Drexel students, but for all citizens across the globe,” she says.
“I [now] know I will not feel accomplished or fulfilled unless I end up in a career advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves. My career interests have shifted from working in a corporate environment, to working in events for either a non-profit or a not for profit,” Nolan says.
Her plans for after graduation include continuing to advocate for LGBTQQIA+ right not only on the campus level, but on the state, national, and international levels! “It is my hope to work and create a society where people can feel comfortable associating with any label or identity they choose,” Nolan says. “I really enjoy planning events, so I’m hoping to tie my love of events with my love of advocacy together to create a perfect career.”
But don’t think Maureen is all work! When she’s not event planning and advocating, you can find her exploring the city or learning to cook. She’s also a stand-up comedian, blogger, and musician – talk about well-rounded! Surely with her many talents, Maureen Nolan will go far while at Drexel and long after.