Wednesday, October 26, 2022

The Q Collective At VCU


I had the pleasure of spending a good part of my day, pre-award event, at Virginia Commonwealth University's Q-Collective

First, let me state what the Q Collective at VCU defines itself to be:

Q Collective - The Queer Research and Advocacy Center, known as the Q Collective, serves as a creative and intellectual hub in support of LGBTQIA+ artistic and scholarly activities among faculty, staff, students and the Greater Richmond community. The Q Collective supports LGBTQIA+ research, scholarship and advocacy; and works to inform and serve the community. The creation of the Q Collective establishes VCU as a national leader in a rapidly growing and evolving field. The Q Collective emphasizes a commitment to VCU’s values of diversity and inclusion.

I attended VCU well over 50 years ago.  A wide-eyed country kid, I immediately sensed something different.  "I was not in Kansas any more; err the country".  We engineering students were clearly a minority population among what at that time was predominantly a professional institute of art, drama, music, graphic design, photography, and fashion design students. Strangely I felt at home. Diversity was everywhere; everyone was open to new ideas, dressed differently; the '60s. There were clubs representing many diverse groups and even a gays group, I think was called the Landba Club.

Archana A. Pathak,
Interim Director Q-Collective
Office of Institutional Equity,
 Effectiveness and Success;
Fast forward - VCU has become a major university offering a vast variety of studies. Still I see this same openness preminating. 

Now especially with the formation of the Q-Collective. It is a building designated as a safe space for any student that is seeking acceptance. There are meeting rooms, a large conference room for group meetings and professionals/facility leading discussions on gender, gay, transgender and queer self-exploration. Just this past summer, post covid, it became fully operational.

One of its first initiatives was a summer "Camp Qmunity 2022" for students to provide input and define what a Q-Collective (LGBTQ+ Center) was to entail. One of their questions, "What does queer space look like?”

While there last month I met with many of its participants in this summer project and was shown their Powerpoint. It was brilliant and so well thought out. Much applause to this group. 

After the presentation we had a wonderful discussion on diversity in general, and one of the questions was "why did you choose VCU and what is unique here?" I was blown away by so many saying "immediately sensed something different." Just as I felt there 50+ years earlier.

Thank you so much, Archana for your vision in establishing and building such a positive environment for the VCU Students. I hope to work with the Q-Collective on future projects and consult in areas of my life experience.

Archana set up a full day of meeting for me at the Q-collective and this was my morning meeting; stay tuned.   


My Q-Collective Morning Meeting Group
Students and Facility  

See: Virginia Commonwealth University has earned the 2022 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.

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