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Mar 2018

Month of Service: Cluster Q – Columbia Business School

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The Cluster Q club fom Columbia Business School partnered with Rainbow Railroad , a national organization for their month of service activity. Rainbow Railroad came as a suggestion from an ally club member who had a connection to the organization. Once learning about its mission, the club leaders discussed how the broader CBS community could act in benefit of refugees who escaped countries with institutionalized violence against the LGBTQ community, such as Syria and Russia.

Rainbow Railroad receives hundreds of requests for help every year from countries where LGBT individuals are open targets of violence. Because the volume of requests is so high, we focus our efforts on assisting LGBT people who have faced physical violence or face an imminent threat of violence, imprisonment, or death. They have been successful in helping individuals from the Caribbean, Africa and Middle East where we have local networks to support and validate cases. Visit https://www.rainbowrailroad.com/whatwedo  to learn more.

Club members set up a space on campus, gathered materials from  Rainbow Railroad, and encouraged the school to write valentines, letters of support/love, and messages of encouragement to be delivered to those who are now living in safer countries. They received notes written in multiple languages — Korean, Arabic, Spanish, and Chinese to name a few.

In total, they gathered over 100 notes from students, faculty, and administration who all supported this initiative. They were then given to Rainbow Road to distribute to refugees as needed.



Thank you, Cluster Q!

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Feb 2017

LGBT MBA Event: Cluster Q’s Ally Week

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet


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.


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Jul 2016

ROMBA Student Leader Profile: Lev Eldemir

Posted by / in LGBTQ BUSINESS STUDENT BLOG / No comments yet

In addition to Reaching Out’s staff, each year the Reaching Out LGBT MBA & Graduate Conference’s content is developed and produced by MBA & graduate students from schools across the world. These core group of the students working on the ROMBA Conference are known as the “Student Leadership Committee.”  The Leadership Committee comes up with the conference’s theme, ideates all breakout sessions, and is seen prominently on the ground at the conference!

Over the next few weeks we’ll highlight each of this year’s 11 organizers and share some of their tips for those planning to attend this year’s ROMBA Conference in Dallas (Oct 6-8)!  Not only will they tell you what they are most excited about for this year’s conference, but they’ll also give inbound LGBT MBA students tips on the summer internship search & experience!

Name: Lev Eldemir

School (Program/Concentration): Columbia Business School (Full Time, Strategy / Management)

Summer Internship:  Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices – Marketing Leadership Development Program Intern; U.S. Marketing, Biosurgery; Somerville, NJ

How did your first year in business school prepared you for your summer internship?
Specifically, an elective course – Marketing Research & Analytics – provided me with a solid foundation in market research methods to hit the ground running.

What experience(s) do you hope to take away from your Internship this summer?
With no previous experience in Marketing, I hope to gain a firm understanding of the strategic/business planning aspect within a Marketing role. I also am very excited to see how marketers leverage data to formulate insights that inform their strategy. Separately, working within Healthcare, I am excited to understand the thought processes of surgeons in different specialties and how J&J engages them to develop new products.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice going into summer internships you can offer the Class of 2018?
Relax and be ok with not knowing things. Identify who will be strong resources for you and be proactive about asking questions – never spin your wheels. Also, remember that as an MBA student, you likely have a strong track record – believe in your ability to learn quickly, draw upon your previous work and school experiences, and make an impact with your projects.

What are you most excited about for 2016 ROMBA Conference?
Continuing to make new connections and reconnecting with friends I made last year.

Any advice you have for people going into the ROMBA Conference for the first time?
Understand what your priorities are and stay focused – whether that’s networking with companies, building relationships with other MBA students, exploring different job opportunities, and/or engaging in interesting panel discussions. Fun is also encouraged, but keep it classy. Don’t let a hangover prevent you from engaging in the awesome content and with professionals & students! Lastly, don’t be too clicky with your school -meet new people! It will not only be beneficial to you in the future, but it will also strengthen the LGBTQ community as a whole. ROMBA is truly such a unique and empowering experience.

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