Gatherings: Towards, Flourishing, Formation, and Transformation

Gatherings is a pilot year-long institute comprised of intensive workshops that offers LGBTQ students a sustained and in-depth opportunity to create spaces of encounter, engagement, and reflection that can lead to action and transformation.  For many LGBTQ students, it can be a challenge both to come into themselves, and then find or foster community. Unlike other social and cultural identities, LGBTQ  members must constitute community even as they find themselves; in other words,  unlike around racial, religious, ethnic, or national identities, LGBTQ people must “make” community even as find or make our-selves.  Our identities as LGBTQ people are neither simple nor singular, and all other diversities (i.e race, religion, ability, education, socio-economic class, status, ability to name a few) both shape and change how we come into our own sexual and gendered selves.

There are few places where LGBTQ students can come to  learn, to engage, and to challenge one another that allows for our own growth. At the heart of this enterprise is Fr. Peter Kolvenbach’s impassioned  call for educators to provide our students opportunities to be and to grow into “whole persons of solidarity.” (“The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education”).

The institute consists of 4 workshops which are arranged sequentially to provide students with the space for cumulative learning. The inaugural cohort consists of 18 students who are drawn from a range of diversities, and have been community-builders on this campus. We invite you to read more about each of the workshops below. 

Gatherings I: Uneasy Homes: Re-drawing the Diversity Paradigm

Uneasy Homes: Re-drawing the Diversity Paradigm

This first workshop is a highly interactive one that asks us to reflect upon, critically examine, and share how our identities shape our understandings of our work and leadership roles. In the US, “identity” has become the basis of much of our understanding of diversity work, and this workshop will ask us to unpack how this has become both empowering and limiting.

Sivagami (“Shiva”) Subbaraman is the first Director of the LGBTQ Resource Center, one of the first institutionally funded Centers in a Jesuit university in the country.  Since she came on board in the Fall of 2008, she has worked to establish the Center as an integral and integrated part of the Hilltop community by building across differing communities and groups.  We seek to align the work of the Center with institutional mission, identity, and values.



Gatherings II: Leading with(in) Community & Staging Our Stories, Embodying Solidarity

Jacquis Watters: Leading with(in) Community
From a social justice lens, participants will engage in personal reflection and community building activities during this 2 hour workshop. This workshop aims to emphasize the importance of affirming intersectional identities within a queer community. This workshop also aims to highlight the value of group leadership and followship.

Jacquis Watters currently serves as the Assistant Director for Diversity and Intercultural Development at Maryland Institute College of Art. She received her M.Ed. in Student Development Administration from Seattle University and her B.A in Women’s Studies from Hofstra University on Long Island, NY.


Andy Stoffel: Staging Our Stories, Embodying Solidarity
Participants will use movement and tableaus to reflect on their own journeys, share in the experiences of others, and work together to imagine new ways to be in solidarity.

Andy Stoffel (SFS ‘12) majored in Culture & Politics focusing on intersections of theatre and conflict transformation.  He currently works as a Drama and Music teacher at BASIS DC, a public charter middle and high school in the Penn Quarter area that just this year started it’s own Gay-Straight Alliance.


Gatherings III: Connections: Creating Systems of Care

Daniel Phillip: Connections: Creating Systems of Care

When we hear the term “mental health,” we often think about illness and deficits; the focus starts and ends with the hardships we experience. In today’s workshop, we will define, discuss and share our understanding of mental health, trauma, and healing as intersectional beings, not only emphasizing our individual experiences but increasing awareness and empathy for other communities’ experiences.

Students will:
1. Define mental health and trauma 
2. Learn different communities’ experiences 
3. Identity ways of coping and healing from traumatic experiences 

Dr. Daniel K. Phillip is a Staff Psychologist at Chase Brexton Health Care. He also serves as an affiliate faculty member at Loyola University Maryland. Dr. Phillip has trained in both inpatient and outpatient settings and has focused on working with marginalized communities in Maryland and New York. He is trained as an LGBT-affirmative psychotherapist by the American Association for Marriage & Family Therapy – California Division (AAMFT-CA) and provides training to mental health professionals on the provision of affirmative and competent care to trans and gender diverse clients.