Category Archives: leadership

LETTER FROM CO-CHAIR – Fall 2016

Scot SThe election season was a difficult time for many of us. No matter your political perspective, it seemed that the country became more divided, and there was a constant stream of negativity. Throughout this difficult election season, GALA has continued to work towards accomplishing our main goals: advocating for the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and beyond, providing social networking and volunteer opportunities, and supporting students through scholarships and leadership funds.

Our advocacy efforts over the past six months have focused on ensuring that LGBTQ+ students continue to have access to safe spaces and quality programming during and after the reorganization of Campus Life (http://dialogue.emory.edu/CASA2/). We are glad that the Office of LGBT Life will continue to serve students after the reorganization, and that designed safe spaces will continue to exist for LGBTQ+ students.

To provide opportunities for students and alumni to get to know each other, we hosted the annual Blue Jean Brunch during Emory’s Homecoming Weekend. We were thrilled that President Claire Sterk joined us and spoke about her support for the LGBTQ+ community at Emory and beyond. We also volunteered at Lost-N-Found Youth (http://lnfy.org/) for Emory Cares International Service Day, and we were glad to support this organization that aims to end homelessness among LGBT youth in Atlanta.

As always, we continue to provide scholarships to Emory students who positively impact the LGBTQ+ community at Emory, and we support other funds that help students attend leadership programs and access quality LGBTQ+ programing. We would love for you to learn more about and contribute to these funds. Please see http://www.lgbt.emory.edu/about/donate.html for more details.

We hope that you will join us for our Holiday Social at the Four Seasons Downtown Hotel on Thursday, December 1st from 6:00 to 9:00 PM.  You can register for the event here: http://engage.emory.edu/s/1705/alumni/index.aspx?sid=1705&gid=3&pgid=3720&cid=5727&ecid=5727&crid=0&calpgid=13&calcid=1160.

We would also love to see you at one of our upcoming GALA meetings. The next two meetings will be held on December 13th and January 10th. A light dinner is served at 6pm and the meetings start at 6:30pm at the Miller Ward Alumni House.

In pride,

Scot Seitz

Co-Chair

GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

Letter from Co-Chair – Spring 2016

In addition to sponsoring social events, networking opportunities, and community service projects, GALA has continued to advocate for LGBTQ communities both at Emory and throughout Georgia. Recently, GALA has been working to ensure that the Office of LGBT Life receives adequate staffing, space, and resources as Emory’s Campus Life undergoes a reorganization (you can read more about this reorganization at http://dialogue.emory.edu/CASA2/). Our advocacy efforts included a Declaration of Support for the Office of LGBT Life that was sent to Ajay Nair, Senior Vice President and Dean for Campus Life. We were concerned that Campus Life administrators did not reach out to many stakeholders, including GALA, as they created an initial vision for the new Campus Life structure. We will continue to work with Campus Life administrators to make sure that Emory’s LGBTQ students are supported by an Office of LGBT Life that has dedicated space, sufficient staff, and adequate resources.

We have also been working to increase student participation in GALA activities, thereby creating a smoother transition from Emory student to active GALA alum. In order to increase student involvement, we strive to make GALA events affordable for students. When registering for GALA events, many of our alumni generously donate money to help offset costs for students. These donations are greatly appreciated, and any funds for student participation that remain after an event are saved to reduce student costs at future events.

We have one social event planned for this upcoming July, and we would love to see you there! We are partnering with the Emory Young Alumni group and other affinity groups to visit the High Museum of Art on Friday, July 15, 2016. In addition to visiting the art collections, you can also enjoy a live jazz concert as part of the High Museum’s Friday Jazz series. This event will be free for the first 100 registered attendees, and the registration link will be sent out soon.

We would also love to see you at one of our upcoming Steering Committee meetings. You are welcome to attend these meetings even if you have never participated in GALA before. The meetings take place on the second Tuesday of each month at the Miller Ward Alumni House (a free dinner is served at 6pm and the meetings start at 6:30pm). The next two meetings are on June 14 and July 12.

In pride,

Scot S

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scot Seitz, 09C
Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

Letter from the Co-chair August 2015

Over recent months, our Steering Committee has, as always, been busy creating and cultivating opportunities for members to engage with GALA. We work hard to sustain our long-held traditions, such as the Blue Jean Brunch and Emory Cares, while also creating new initiatives and events, such as our Legacy Circle and our annual theater outing, now in its third year.

As Co-Chair of Emory’s LGBT alumni affinity group, it’s important to me that our engagement opportunities meet the needs and interests of our members. In this newsletter, I’ve included a link here to our member survey. Please take just a few minutes to fill that out. Your responses will have a direct impact on the work that we do. Maybe you’ve got a great idea for a program you’d like to see us work on, or feedback about how to improve the last event you went to. Whatever your experience with GALA to date, whether you’re a regular at our events or you’ve never connected with the group beyond receiving our newsletter, help us understand how we can best serve and include YOU.

You can also give your feedback in person by attending our monthly meetings. The meetings are on the second Tuesday of the month in the Miller Ward Alumni House. We always kick things off with a dinner and social at 6pm and then begin our business meeting at 6:30. All members are welcome to attend our meetings and give input into everything from our socials to our newsletter, our fundraising to our student advocacy initiatives.

If organizing isn’t for you, I hope you’ll reconnect with us during Homecoming for the Blue Jean Brunch on September 26th, our biggest event of the year.

In pride,

Aby Headshot

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aby Parsons 13G
Co-Chair

 

GALA Executive Committee Elections in August

The GALA Steering Committee will seek nominations for positions on the Executive Committee on July 14th and elections will be held at the August 11th meeting.  Open positions include one Co-Chair position, Secretary, and one of two Officer-at-Large positions.

Letter from the Co-Chair June 2015

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One factor that first led me to join GALA two years ago was the breadth and diversity of the organization’s work. GALA is not a single-purpose group. In fact, its mission outlines 8 substantial commitments to Emory’s LGBT communities, including supporting students, offering networking opportunities for alumni, and engaging in LGBT advocacy at Emory and beyond.

Since our last newsletter, we’ve hosted a dinner for our LGBT graduates at the Office of LGBT Life’s Pride Awards, enjoyed our annual theater outing to Actors Express, participated in the inaugural Out in Business networking event with Goizueta students, and honored Nowmee Shehab, 16C, with the GALA Leadership Award.

At recent monthly meetings, GALA members have also turned their attention to critical advocacy issues on and off campus. Earlier this year, GALA wrote a letter to President Wagner in support of Freedom at Emory, a student group working to secure financial aid for undocumented students. We were thrilled to learn in April that President Wagner listened to the concerns of students and alumni and made the courageous decision to begin offering aid to undocumented students from Fall 2015 onwards.

Then, in March, the Emory Wheel published an op-ed by GALA concerning the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, urging the larger Emory community to learn about and speak out against this discriminatory piece of legislation.

Engaging in advocacy has been a rewarding and galvanizing experience for many of our members, but I know that it’s not for everyone. Maybe you’re just looking to network with other LGBT alumni, gain writing and editing experience on our newsletter, hone your fundraising skills, or mentor a student. What’s amazing about GALA is that it offers all of these opportunities and more.

If you’ve been on the fence about joining (or rejoining!) us, I encourage you to reach out to me or any member of our Executive Committee with your questions or suggestions. I guarantee that you’ll receive a warm welcome and find something that fits your interests and your schedule.

In pride,

Aby Parsons, 13G

Co-Chair, GALA: Emory LGBT Alumni

Letter from GALA’s Co-Chair

As a graduate student at Emory, I always received a warm welcome from GALA members at LGBTQ events on campus. At Homecoming celebrations, holiday socials, and the Pride Awards, our alumni always took time to reach out to me, to ask how things were going, and to encourage me to stay involved in the Emory LGBTQ community after graduation.

It was therefore an easy decision for me to become an active member in GALA after completing my degree. My involvement with GALA over the past year and a half has allowed me to advocate for students, to build meaningful friendships with other alumni, and to give back to the campus LGBTQ community that gave me so much throughout my five years as a student. I’ve been able to experience firsthand what a difference a friendly, supportive, and engaged organization like GALA can do for our students and alumni.Print

GALA has already effected meaningful change on Emory’s campus, and has the capacity to continue to effect change and be a voice for LGBTQ inclusion. Thanks to our strong partnership with the Office of LGBT Life, we have opportunities to serve as mentors, advisors, and friends to students and staff. With our new GALA Outwrite Blog and our social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, we can now easily connect with our alumni all over the world and engage them in our work.

Wherever you are, we hope that you’ll consider connecting with GALA in useful and meaningful ways in the years to come. If you are based in Atlanta and you’ve never joined us at an event or monthly meeting, consider this a personal invitation and encouragement to do so in the near future. We can guarantee that you’ll be made to feel welcome and valued, and that you will have plenty of opportunities to expand your network, make friends, learn new skills, and have a tangible impact on the LGBTQ alumni of the future.

And to our current students, take it from me when I say that you shouldn’t wait until after graduation to get involved with GALA. We love getting to know our students and involving you in our community. Joining GALA has made all the difference in my life and I know it will make a difference in yours too.

 Aby Parsons, 13G

Scholarship and Leadership

“I think that providing support for emerging student leaders is fantastic . . . it’s really encouraging to see Emory alums continuing to be involved with the LGBTQ community at Emory, and helps bridge the gap between the student community and alums. If someone who graduated years ago is still involved and keeping up with Emory’s LGBTQ community, it shows me clearly that community and experience at Emory is something they value a lot . . .”

Cameron Coppala 16C

Cameron Coppala 16C

These remarks by Cameron Coppala 16C underscore the value of GALA’s scholarship and leadership programs. Cameron is the recipient of the 2014 GALA Leadership Award. He is the sixth recipient of the award supported by an endowment in the Office of LGBT Life and funded by the GALA membership. In 2014 the award was increased to $4000.

The scholarship is complemented by two additional endowments, also established by GALA, which provide grants to students to develop their individual leadership potential. The Daniel D. Adame Leadership Fund and the J. Michael Aycock Leadership Development Fund afford stipends up to $1000, and in the past three years over 30 grants have been provided to students.

The grants have enabled students to attend regional and national conferences, and to lead workshops and give academic presentations. Grants have included attendance at NGLTF’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance Conference, the National Union of Jewish LGBTQ Jewish Students Conference, and support for a law school student internship in Washington, DC.

Building on those programs, earlier this year the OUTLaw Fund was established by Emory Law School students and alumni. This new fund will provide funding to maximize professional development for Emory University’s LGBTQ students in the School of Law, as well as provide educational opportunities for the entire Emory community related to sexuality and gender issues in the law.

Michael Aycock 64Ox 69C 82G, Chair of the GALA Scholarship Committee, recognized the contributions of alumni in supporting LGBT students. “The intellectual and extracurricular achievements of Emory’s LGBT students are impressive. In all these efforts they have our strong support. Thanks to committed alumni, allies and friends, our endowment and unrestricted monies in support of student scholarship and leadership programs now exceeds $300,000. GALA’s support for LGBT students reflects a shared history of personal challenges and individual journeys. It is a unique legacy and one that draws us together.”