Queer Camp is a student retreat and supportive community, serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students and their allies at UMD. We form a diverse cohort, focusing on creating opportunities for newer and incoming students. The 2014 retreat, taking place September 19 to 21, will serve about 25 participants. We will stay at a home away from home, build lasting friendships, and create a greater sense of community and support among peers. Being part of a smaller community at a large university helps foster student retention, gives students a supportive network, and creates a greater sense of belonging-- an important factor researchers have identified in developing socially responsible leaders.
The retreat is also a leadership pipeline. Queer Camp is run by student leaders who attended the camp last year, who are supported by student mentors who were the camp leaders last year. The program began in 2012 and is a program of the LGBT Equity Center, with support from the Office of Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy and The One Project. Queer Camp students and student leaders benefit from the guidance and supervision of our professional staff and graduate assistants.
Your donation will help us cover transportation to and from the retreat, two nights of lodging, and most meals. The program costs about $200 per person (not including our staff time). Last year, about 50% of our participants were students of color, and around 20% were transgender or gender variant. Our students are from diverse socio-economic backgrounds. Your support for this program will help ensure the accessibility and diversity of this critical and empowering student experience.
Your donation will be joined to the major gifts and pledges of Richard L. Novak '62, his wife Laura, and their two daughters, Emily and Ashley, as part of The Novak Family LGBT Student Fund. Your donations will be earmarked specifically for Queer Camp. We encourage you to donate any amount that you are able to give, and to encourage your friends, colleagues, and family to donate as well. We thank you and our students thank you!
Any amounts raised over the $5,000 goal will either go towards Queer Camp 2015 or towards the expenses of our extensions of the Queer Camp program (we're looking at ways of ensuring that the experience translates back to campus and isn't merely a weekend-long retreat, but rather something students can connect with throughout the academic year).
SPECIAL THANKS - for donations from business, community, and organizational supporters:
$1,000 from the DC Eagle
$1,460 from the Student Government Association