A self-described “true-crime expert” and double English literature and African studies concentrator, senior Autumn Lopez is the co-president of Lambda, a queer student group on campus. The group holds events such as game nights, bonfires, walks and collaborations with other clubs.
Having grown up in Mississippi in a conservative household, Lopez was not always as open about her sexuality.
“Being gay was not a thing back home and I wasn’t super open about it until I moved to Colgate when I felt a little freer at college and by myself,” Lopez said.
Being a predominantly straight campus, it can be hard to find mainly queer spaces at Colgate. Lambda was the first time that Lopez had ever met a large group of people that identified as queer.
“Being a part of Lambda was literally the first time I ever met a large group of other people that identified as queer. Just knowing that people share the same experiences as me, especially in terms of home life or where they come from and not always being super accepted, having other people who have had similar experiences as me has been totally life-changing,” she said.
Lambda also participates in Colgate’s Queerfest, a weeklong series of events organized by LGBTQ+ initiatives. Aimed to include the larger population, Queerfest is a great learning opportunity for non-queer students to support and learn in a more fun environment. A few events Lopez has enjoyed in the past are drag balls and high tea at noon. When asked what the most important thing to take away from Queerfest, Lopez emphasized that it is important for Colgate’s community to engage with the queer community.
“If you find yourself with the opportunity to engage with queer spaces you really should because even if you don’t identify with queer, it is very valuable to engage with the community,” Lopez said.
Lopez’s involvement with Lambda has been a way for her to celebrate queerness on campus through a community of similar individuals.
“I celebrate queerness on campus by surrounding myself with a lot of really really good people from the queer community. The majority of my friends are queer. Creating a community around myself with people that are like me is really wonderful,” she said.
Additionally, Lopez has enjoyed being able to help create queer spaces and work with other student organizations with shared interests.
“Being the co-president of Lambda has given me the ability to craft social spaces, especially in collaboration with other groups on campus. Collaborating with other student groups, such as Outdoor Education, and having this shared space with other people is something as well,” Lopez said.
Although Lopez is not on campus for her last semester, over her four years the boulder behind Frank Dining Hall became her favorite location on campus. When she is not listening to true crime podcasts, she enjoys hiking with her chihuahua and watching the Vampire Diaries. She has also enjoyed her time with the model African Union doing research and debate.
Lopez has played her role in activism, and her events are appreciated and enjoyed by a huge part of the student body. If you are interested in learning more about and supporting the queer community on campus, check out Queerfest events this April and brownbag discussions!