For everyone who’s NOT going to New York this weekend: IvyQ 2012

Staying in Providence for the long weekend and want to make some transcontinental friends? You’re in luck: While many Brown students go M.I.A., around 300 students from other schools will be flocking to College Hill for the third annual IvyQ conference.

This meeting of queer-identifying students and allies “aims to create a pan-Ivy community of LGBTQ students and allies equipped with the skills to examine their identities, value those of others, and understand intersectionality,” according to the conference’s official website. While the conference originated in the Ivy League, it’s grown to include colleges from around the country, from UNC-Chapel Hill to Grinnell (which is in Iowa, by the way).

While registration filled up two weeks ago due to high demand (500 students, oh my!), some events, like the keynote speeches, will be open to the general public. And students dying to participate can still sign up for the waitlist.

BlogDH spoke with some of IvyQ’s coordinators, who gave us the lowdown on the conference.

The conference is organized into six conference blocks, with forty separate events in total. Events include, “Blogging Queer Culture,” “Rethinking the Questions We Ask About Normalizing Genital Surgery for Children with Atypical Sex,” and “The Tactics and Terrain of Online Dating,” among many others. Drew Heckman ’13, IvyQ’s head coordinator, explained “programming is organized into six tracks: internationality and culture, identity, queer histories, sex and body positivities, health and sexual assault and practical applications.”

Some events will be more interactive and introspective, such as the Identity Open House, where “participants will be broken up into ‘family groups’ and interacting with [each other, discussing] how their identities relate to the LGBTQ identity,” said coordinator Tricia Serrano, a senior at JWU. Other events, such as the Activism Fair, are intended to introduce students to opportunities outside of their “college bubble” and to “connect to the larger movement,” she said.

The Activism Fair, taking place Sunday in Andrew’s Dining Hall, will be open to the public and will include Brown student groups as well as local and national groups, Heckman assures. The fair is held  at the end of the weekend “so people can take all the positive energy from the conference and hopefully find a way to channel that in a way that’ll last beyond the weekend,” he said.

It’s Brown’s first time hosting IvyQ, and in Brunonian tradition, event attendees will get the chance to “let loose” at the SPQ Dance on Friday night. (The acronym doesn’t explicitly stand for anything, but participants can figure out for themselves what the letters refer to, Heckman said). Tamer than its namesake, SPQ is nonetheless another reason to get on the waitlist (No, seriously, sign up now).

Visiting students will be housed in Brown dorms, so if you see a new face in the halls, it’ll be just a friendly NYU, Stanford or Harvard kid (or a spring transfer student, in which case, you really should have introduced yourself by now). Don’t even think about the averted gaze trick.

If you’re interested in getting involved, IvyQ is still looking for hosts for visiting students or volunteers at public events. E-mail ivyq2012@gmail.com or sign up to host at tinyurl.com/ivyqhosts.

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