At Columbia Business School, November 14th-17th is known as Ally Week. Hosted by the LGBTQ Club named Cluster Q, the week consists of themed events each day, aimed at creating an inclusive community within Columbia’s campus. Laura Kornhauser, a member of Cluster Q writes the following about Ally Week:
Ally Week consists of one major event each day of the week (detailed below) in addition to daily tabling in the lobby of Uris Hall, the HQ of our business school. Cluster Q and Ally volunteers run the table, armed with a variety of rainbow gear to hand out to our classmates. The most popular item is our rubber rainbow bracelets that say “Proud to be an Ally” which have become an everyday accessory for many students. The tables are also used to register students in our Ally Database and to get photos of students with their own personal statement about why they are an Ally (written on a small whiteboard we have them hold). We leverage well-loved CBS traditions such as supper club, CBS Matters, and Rugby Happy Hour to weave our discussions into the fabric of the Columbia community.
- Cluster Q and Allies Supper Club – brings members of the community together for small and intimate discussions about the LGBTQ community
- Cluster Q CBS Matters – presents personal stories members of our LGBTQ community and Allies as they discuss what matters most to them and why
- Cluster Q Rainbow Rugby Happy Hour – A popular social gathering where students get decked out in Rainbow gear
- Ally 101 Workshop: How to be an Ally – Partnered with Columbia Women in Business (CWiB), Black Business Student Association (BBSA), Muslim Business Student Association (MBSA), Asian Business Association (ABA) and Hispanic Business Association (HBA) to host a workshop discussing how members of our community can actively engage as an Ally for these organizations. This event is open to students, faculty, and staff
Our goal for the Fall 2016 Ally Week was to reach out to members of the Columbia community to get them actively involved in the Cluster Q family. The overarching goal for our Ally community is to not only create an inclusive community within the campus, but to arm our classmates and future business leaders with skills that will allow them to actively create inclusive communities after graduation. While it is easy to get other students to register in a database as an Ally or wear one of our rainbow “Ally” wristbands, Cluster Q as a whole has been making every effort to convert Allies from passive supporters to vocal advocates of their LGBTQ friends. Although we saw great attendance at each of our events throughout the week, there is definitely still work to be done in this arena!
With the Ally Week beginning less than a week after the election, we knew that it was more important than ever to bring our community together and remind everyone of the importance of being an Ally, especially in these challenging times. With that in mind, we made an adjustment to our “How to Be an Ally” event that ended the week’s major programming. We invited all interest groups on campus to participate, and by doing that the focus went beyond an LGBTQ discussion and became more about how Allies of any underrepresented group can proactively foster diversity and inclusion.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Cluster Q Club is now preparing to host another extended event, known as Love Is Love Week.