With over 90 first and second year students, the LGBT Student Association is a support network, active social outlet, community interest advocate, and most importantly a family here at HBS. The LGBTSA strives to support incoming students’ transition to HBS from their first day on campus. Each first year student is assigned a second year buddy who serves as a friendly resource for everything from navigating extra-curricular opportunities to finding the perfect summer internship.
To formally welcome the new class, the club gathers together in early September for a Sunday barbeque on the Charles River. A few weeks later, new and returning members travel to New England’s autumn-painted hills for their annual weekend retreat. Additionally, the club hosts regular social events as well as professional networking opportunities and activities with the HBS LGBT alumni base and LGBT student groups at other Harvard graduate schools.
Beyond building bonds with each other, engaging with and giving back to the greater community are key missions of the club. Throughout the year, the club organizes service outings, such as cooking meals at a local youth shelter. In the spring, the LGBTSA co-hosts the cross-school Harvard LGBTQ Conference, where thought leaders join over 350 attendees to celebrate the community’s many strides forward and discuss the challenges still facing LGBT individuals today.
The LGBTSA celebrates National Coming Out Day with MyTakes in each section, as well as activities across campus to share LGBT perspectives and increase the community’s visibility - impacting both club members and the greater HBS community. LGBTSA Co-President Rosanna Fugate notes, “National Coming Out Day was a truly pivotal moment in my HBS experience because it allowed me to connect more deeply with my classmates and set the precedent for others to be more open in sharing their backgrounds as well. For some of my classmates, this was the first time they ever heard an LGBT perspective and they were very empathetic. Knowing that I had the support of my peers encouraged me to explore being out in a professional setting and become more active in the LGBTSA.”
“Participating in the LGBTSA has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my time at HBS. While the atmosphere on campus is very accepting and supportive, the LGBTSA creates a space that allows our group to come together not only to discuss the unique aspects of building our careers as LGBT professionals, but also to develop deep relationships that enrich our experience as students and will last long into the future,” explains LGBTSA co-president Andrew Martinez. “Serving as a leader of the LGBTSA is a great privilege, and I’m excited to see what the upcoming year holds for our organization.”