By Jennifer Ives
The Simmons LGBTQIA+ community has several on-campus opportunities to meet, mingle, and experience support from the local community. The community features groups like Simmons Alliance, which caters specifically to the LGBTQIA+ community, and Sexuality Women and Gender (SWAG), which focuses on wider issues of social rights related to gender. Both groups have collaborated on events in the past to raise awareness and support for marginalized communities.
Now, Alliance and SWAG are reaching out together past the boundaries of Simmons and the Colleges of the Fenway, to connect queer students with the larger Bostonian queer college community as a whole, through an intercollegiate committee called Spectrum.
As of publication, Spectrum consists of not only Simmons College, but also many other institutions, including Boston University, Northeastern University, Berklee College of Music, Boston College, Emmanuel College, Harvard, Emerson, Wentworth, Wheelock, Boston Conservatory, and the New England Conservatory.
Spectrum has existed for less than a year in its current form, but already has brought students several opportunities to get off campus and connect with the wider community.
Most recently MIT hosted the Intercollegiate Valentines Day Mixer on Feb. 13. The event was quite a success, with over 130 RSVPs on the Facebook event alone, and many more attendees invited by and attending with their respective queer clubs. Spectrum also enabled a Boston University and Simmons College LGBTQ Mixer hosted by BU on Feb. 20 that had several dozen attendees.
While presenting some organizational conundrums such as how to fund intercollegiate events, and how to ensure that future members on eboards will stay connected, Spectrum offers a promising resource to students.
By extending past the traditionally accepted club boundaries of the Colleges of the Fenway, Spectrum offers almost unprecedented access across institutional boundaries to a wider support community, and a larger dating, socialization, and networking pool, which can be difficult to connect with if not already involved in and familiar with the LGBTQIA+ community.
Simmons students have expressed a positive experience with the committee so far. Simmons Alliance Student Government Representative Danielle Morency stated, “I think that Alliance joining Spectrum is very exciting. It’s been nice to work with other colleges in the Boston area and really expand our community.”
Spectrum actively continues to connect with and recruit other Boston area colleges and universities, connecting Simmons and its other member colleges to the ever-widening young queer community just outside our door.
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article, Jennifer Ives, is personally involved in Spectrum as a whole and the Simmons Alliance eboard.