As a Point Scholar, each academic year I devise a Community Service Project I can undertake to positively impact the LGBTQ community. The aim is that by working on a CSP, my fellow scholars and I will learn about the LGBTQ community, practice skills of community engagement and develop leadership skills.

For my most recent CSP I collaborated with my Point Mentor, Katie Richards-Schuster, on a project at the University of Michigan. Katie and I organized and led a retreat for undergraduate students enrolled in a minor called Community Action and Social Change. The objective was for attendees to gain a deeper understanding of social identities, the concepts of privilege versus oppression and develop the capacity to engage deeply in different varieties of community organizing and social change.

AshleyBlogPost 1.8.15
Students share experiences and observations at the Community Action and Social Change retreat.

More than twenty students with different majors and social backgrounds attended the retreat. They all enthusiastically embraced the programming we presented, which included dialogues about different social identities, such as sexual orientation and gender identity, and the social climate of our university. I feel very good about having helped to explain to these students the significance of gender pronouns and expose them to a variety of LGBTQ terminology.

It was very rewarding to work alongside my Point Mentor to improve understanding between the LGBTQ and greater campus community. Through my CSP, I have helped lay the groundwork for future retreats and programs at the university that are more inclusive and allow the LGBTQ student community to feel safer and more welcome.

This post was written by Point Scholar Ashley Burnside
Burnside_Ashley 1.8.15Ashley is attending the University of Michigan where she is a chair on a branch of the Central Student Government, the LGBT Issues Commission, helping to solve LGBT issues on campus and creating an inclusive environment.  Learn more about Ashley.
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