Elias Blanch Student Executive Overview 2021

Vice President of Gender and Sexuality – Queer Officer of UQU Queer Collective

This year has been amazing, I adored getting to be a part of the brilliant UQU student executive team this year. My role this year was representing the UQ Union Queer Collective and facilitating anything they want to do, with my primary goal of making the collective welcoming, inclusive and safe to current and new members. In February I started up the food bank in the Carden Queer Room, this provided donated meals to students that couldn’t afford lunch.

Throughout the year the collective and I ran several awareness stalls on Campbell Place to show to the wider UQ community that every identity in the queer community faces its own unique struggles, as well as educating about specific identities, such as aromantic or asexual. These stalls where also a space for queer UQ students to sell their art and for students to pick up merch that represented them, such as pronoun or pride flag pins.

In semester two we ran the clothes swap in the Carden Queer Room, giving students a chance to donate old clothing and pick up clothing they liked, any left-over clothing was then donated to LifeLine.

One of our favourite events was Pride Ball, held in late semester two in CloudLand, the UQ queer community got to come together and dance away their stress in campy outfits, it was possibly my favourite event to run, and I couldn’t have done it without the three amazing welfare officers that helped me out that night.

It was brought to my attention this year that the collectives aren’t trauma informed, so while we face a higher rate of mental health issues we weren’t equipped to help or support our communities, hence I arranged for Mental Health First Aid training, free to all students, run by an instructor informed on queer topics.

And finally, the Carden Queer Room, where it all started for many queer and LGBTQIA+ students. Early in the year I arranged for more flags, stim toys, and sexual health resources for the room. And surprise to us all, after hassling UQ, our air con is now finally working just in time for summer.

Thank you for a fantastic year, I adored getting to run over forty-seven events, I know that I have improved the welfare of QC and did a great job at making it an inclusive, fun group for everyone.

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