New Affiliate Becomes Part of Alumni Association

February 26th, 2018 Posted in From Our Alumni

by Laurie B. Davis

The University of Toledo Alumni Association has created a new affiliate for UT alumni who identify as being part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Allied community. As the affiliate prepares for its first meeting on March 27 and works toward building its membership, The University of Toledo continues its work in support of LGBTQA+ students through the LGBTQA+ Advisory Board, the Division of Student Affairs, the Office of Multicultural Student Success and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

“Our alumni board enthusiastically supported the creation of a new alumni affiliate for members of the LGBTQA+ community, and we are seeking alumni to join,” said Dan Saevig, Associate Vice President for Alumni and Annual Engagement. “We want to draw members who will become active participants by helping to lead, shape and grow the group,” Saevig added.

The goal of having an LGBTQA+ affiliate is to strengthen the ties between LGBTQA+ alumni and their alma mater. “We would like to see this new affiliate develop events and activities that encourage a spirit of unity among its membership and with the LGBTQA+ community on campus,” said Saevig.  

Many of the current programs and events offered to students through the Office of Multicultural Student Success may naturally link to the new affiliate, says Danielle Stamper (LLSS ’15, GS ’17), interim director for programming in the OMSS. A mentorship program for students could provide a connection to LGBTQA+ alumni. “Currently our mentors are from on campus. At first, we reached out to Equality Toledo, a community organization of LGBTQ folks, but this [mentoring program] would be a great partnership with the alumni affiliate,” says Stamper.

“I think one of the biggest things with any LGBTQ group, whether it’s high schoolers or alumni, is the community that we build. Especially here in Toledo, we see a lot of the places that we had disappearing. Bretz Nightclub, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the state, just closed. So, we’re seeing this decrease in these spaces that are just for us,” says Stamper. “It’s about being in a safe space. No one wants to always feel like the ‘other,’” she adds. “You want to be with like-minded people.”

Stamper says another area in which she could see LGBTQA+ alumni connecting with LGBTQA+ students, staff and faculty on campus is through a social gathering called Third Week Out. “So, every third week of the month there’s a meet-up in the community,” says Stamper. She and her fellow LGBTQA+ Advisory Board members created the monthly event because they realized there were social gatherings for undergraduate students, which Stamper coordinates, “but there was really nothing for faculty, staff and graduate students. The Advisory Board also doesn’t have a budget. So, we asked ourselves, what can we do to get everyone together and provide a space, so we started this meet-up for LGBTQ faculty, staff and graduate students. Sometimes we’ll go to a brewery, or sometimes a coffee shop. It’s more for socializing,” she says.

Stamper works directly with students and serves on the LGBTQA+ Advisory Board, which works with the UT administration regarding initiatives that relate to the LGBTQA+ community on campus. “I do all of the safe-place trainings on campus, which are open to all faculty, staff and students. It’s an introductory training to get folks some education on the community,” says Stamper. Safe-place trainings educate people about what it means to be an ally to the LGBTQA+ community, the “A” in the acronym. Allies are “people who don’t identify within the community but they may work for equal rights or go to prides and celebrate.” Allies who are alumni also may join the new LGBTQA+ affiliate, and students are welcome to attend.

Stamper’s office also offers an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to come out and be part of a visibility campaign called Out Rockets. Individuals’ photos and names appear on a printed poster that is released on National Coming Out Day. “Out Rockets was a call out sent through the Division of Student Affairs, and we just asked people if they were comfortable coming out or coming out as allies. Out Rockets celebrates pride and visibility and lets students know, in another way, that here are people in your community who understand you.”

Other UT/LGBTQA+ Advisory Board initiatives include gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. “Right before winter break, Dr. [Willie] McKether’s office and Matthew Perry, who works as the LGBTQ liaison under the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and folks from the advisory board met to talk about increasing the number of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus. Multiple bathrooms were identified in both academic buildings and residence halls; 12 additional gender-neutral bathrooms have been added to UT’s Campus Map,” says Stamper. “The ultimate goal is to have one in every building,” she says.

Stamper will be at the first LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate meeting and one of the founding members of the new group. “I went here for undergrad and grad school, so I’ve seen a lot of improvements in terms of LGBTQ inclusion.” Joining the alumni affiliate “makes you part of a growing effort to include LGBTQ community members at UT, as the University takes steps to be more supportive of this community,” says Stamper.

Visit the University of Toledo Alumni Association’s Facebook page for the new LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate here: The first meeting for the LGBTQA+ Alumni Affiliate is Tuesday, March 27 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. in the Bryan Board Room of the Driscoll Alumni Center. If you’d like to get involved with the group or learn more about it, please call Samantha Marchal in the Office of Alumni and Annual Engagement at 419.530.4927 or e-mail

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