The LGBTQ+ Association of Business Scholars (LABS) is a new group that aims to provide community and resources for LGBTQIA+ students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. Organization president Avery Vantrease, a senior majoring in supply chain management, answered some questions about the organization’s mission and plans.
Q: Why is it important to have a group like this at the Haslam College of Business?
A: Student organizations like this exist in other colleges across our campus. It is imperative not only to foster a safe and visible space for LGBTQIA+ individuals to express themselves and let their voices be heard within the Haslam community, but also to offer educational and professional opportunities for students and faculty alike by sponsoring Safe Zone training, inviting LGBTQ+ industry leaders to share their experiences and generally discussing how the college can best support this community of students.
Q: Who is eligible to join?
A: Membership is open to all students who identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ+ community. In addition, we encourage and welcome all who are interested in serving as allies in support of LGBTQ+ initiatives. Therefore, membership is open to all students and faculty/staff members regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion or national origin.
Q: What kinds of activities do you have planned?
A: We will have several meet-and-greet events for members to engage with each other and make connections. We also plan to host professional development events like resumé workshops, discussions about imposter syndrome and more. We are looking to collaborate with other organizations like the Pride Center, the Diverse Organization of Business Students (DOBS) and Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM) to build upon the great work they do on campus.
Q: When and where does the organization meet?
A: Meetings are tentatively set for every other Thursday at 6 p.m., starting September 9, under the Stokely Management Center. The location may shift depending on the week; any adjustments to meetings will be reported in Haslam Headlines.
Q: How can people get more information about LABS?
Stacy Estep, writer/publicist, email@example.com