Portland State’s School of Business has launched a new professional development program aimed at providing mentorship, community and support for students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, two-spirit, intersex or asexual (LGBTQ2SIA+).
Maverix, which draws its name from the word “maverick” for an independent-minded person who’s committed to rethinking the norm, also recognizes language is political and ever-changing, and this acronym can’t capture all queer identities.
Olivia Bormann, inaugural coordinator of Maverix, says the much-needed program is centered around four main pillars: conversation, connection, confidante and community:
- Conversation: “Conversation is really important to learning and growing,” Bormann says. She says there’s value in learning from one another during regular roundtable discussions, especially since the program is open to both undergrad and grad students whose experiences in school and the workplace may be vastly different.
- Connection: “We deserve joy, we deserve to have fun and we deserve abundance,” Bormann says, adding that quarterly events will include a winter holiday in December and an end-of-school gathering in June.
- Confidante: Students will meet at least quarterly with Bormann, who is also getting her master’s in social work. “Institutions can be really overwhelming and I’ve spent a lot of years navigating them and being able to figure things out.” She hopes to be a resource for students, whether they need to process something that happened in class or need access to hardship funds.
- Community: Future events will connect students with local organizations, nonprofits and guest speakers from the greater Portland community.
Bormann, who also works as the student inclusion coordinator in The School of Business providing one-on-one support to graduate students of color and international students, says she hopes to lay the groundwork for creating true institutional change. She’s putting together an inclusive curriculum resource for faculty to encourage them to add case studies from LGBTQ2SIA+ entrepreneurs and businesses, highlight LGBTQ2SIA+ leaders in the community, find LGBTQ2SIA+ guest speakers for their courses and reimagine course policies and assignments to be more inclusive.
To get involved in Maverix, fill out this student interest form.