Goals and Process
This past year I served as one of the co-chairs for Queer Student Union (QSU) at UCSB. This was not my first time working with a queer organization. I have been a part of the group for the last two years and before that I was involved in my high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. During my years as a queer activist I have realized that one of the most difficult parts of being an officer of any campus organization is the transition of information from one year to another. Many times when student leaders graduate, so does the information and the work that they created during their time on a particular campus. During my time as co-chair I realized that I spent most of my time figuring out how to get things done rather than getting things done. Last year Daniel Kennedy, who served as a QSU officer during the year 2011-2012 created, a QSU 101 packet, QSU Info Packet which has amazing resources for how to logistically run QSU. I am building on the work that he has done, making sure that all of the information in this packet is up to date, and filling in anything that might be missing. I am also archiving all of the events that QSU hosted this past year. The purpose of this project is to keep a history of QSU that can be passed down.
While I was archiving I found binders with archives for the year 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. These binders have served as a model for what the finder for 2012-2013 looks like. I think that it is important to have a physical copy of these resources and a copy online where it is accessible to more people.
I also created a scrapbook with images from events throughout the year and newspaper articles about the events. This scrapbook is meant to be a visual to go along with the binder. The scrapbook is also a great tool for tabling events, many times people will ask us what QSU does, now we can show them!
Along with the creation of these resources I also arranged to have several transition meetings. One meeting with all of the newly elected and outgoing officers and another meeting with the newly elected co-chairs and the outgoing co-chairs, both of these meetings are meant to have the officers establish a relationship so that they can share tips and resources with each other. During these meetings the old officers shared the some of the struggles that they faced during their time as QSU officers and the new officers shared their vision for QSU 2013-2014.
I have used many of the ideas that I learned in Feminist Studies 190: Activisms to complete my project. Clare Hemmings’ introduction to her Why Stories Matter The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory challenges us to think about the way in which stories are told. In this project I have struggled to create a “queerstory” that does not over simplify the work that QSU has done. It is important that I present the history in a way that is as complex and nuanced as possible. I also struggled with the possibility of suggesting that QSU steer away from some events. Kim Hall’s “Queerness, Disability, and The Vagina Monologues” provided me with a lens to further understand the importance of some of the events that I deem problematic. Hall’s work helped me understand that although I might find a certain event problematic there are people who will be empowered by the event and for that reason those events cannot be completely discarded. The work of creating a history for Queer Student Union has been a complicated process but I hope that this work will help future generations of queer leaders at UCSB.
Hall, Kim Q. “Queerness, Disability, and The Vagina Monologues.” Hypatia 20.1 (2005): 99-119. Print.
Hemmings, Clare. “Introduction.” Introduction. Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham & London: Duke UP, 2011. 1-27. Print.