Apparently, Bentley University isn’t the only local institute trying to lure comedian Ellen DeGeneres to campus. The Boston College Gay, Lesbian, Transgender and Queer/Questioning Leadership Council (the GLC) has launched a social media campaign, “Ellen2BC” in hopes of bringing DeGeneres to Chestnut Hill to help raise awareness for the Jesuit Catholic School’s LGBTQ community.
“As a Jesuit Catholic school, the visibility of the LGBTQ community is often minimal,” says GLC Chief of Staff Laura DelloStritto. “As a result, so can be the on-campus support among students, faculty, staff, administrators and the university as a whole.”
The Ellen2BC campaign is designed to help spread the voices, concerns and interests of the LGBTQ community to other organizations at Boston College, as well as the community at large. “Ellen DeGeneres would do wonders to raise awareness of BC’s LGBTQ community and, more importantly, it would provide an immensely educational opportunity for many students who are not members of the LGBTQ community,” DelloStritto admits.
The GLC has created an @Ellen2BC Twitter account, and have already made contact with renowned Boston College alum, What Not To Wear Co-Host, Clinton Kelly. They tweeted at him asking for help, and he responded the same day, saying:
Although the campaign has received “an overwhelming amount of support” both on social media and on campus, DelloStritto says they still plan to contact a majority of Boston College organizations, along with professors, faculty and administrators in hopes they’ll sign the GLC’s letter to DeGeneres to show their support of the campaign. In the letter to DeGeneres, the GLC writes:
As you know, it is not always easy to be an LBGTQ individual in certain situations. Here at BC, it is often challenging to be an LGBTQ student as the religious ties of our university make support for this community difficult and, in some situations, contested.
The GLBTQ Leadership Council itself was not created by the university but was instead a student Senate initiative in 2004, less than ten years ago. This came after formal university rejection of an LGBTQ group four times since 1974. Since the creation of GLC, students have played a key role in leading the charge for LGBTQ visibility, resources, and education on campus.
As recently as 2005, Boston College’s nondiscrimination policy did not include sexual orientation. Students began a petition for a referendum vote by the student Senate to correct this; it won in the Senate with 84% of the student vote. This victory was followed by a rally for equality which over 1,500 students attended to show their support for the LGBTQ community at BC. The university responded to this student action and sexual orientation was added to the policy, but to this day it remains in a separate clause from all other protected identities. Although we are progressing, BC continually remains on the Princeton Review’s top 10 list of LGBT-unfriendly universities, and there is so much more work that needs to be done here.
If the GLC could attract DeGeneres to campus, the organization believes the LGBTQ community would be more widely understood and accepted.
The goal is to garner a response from DeGeneres by January or February. DelloStritto says they’d accept any form of interaction—an in-person meeting, Skype session or Twitter conversation—but still believes having her physically on campus would create the most impact. As the GLC writes in their letter to DeGeneres, however:
Whether you see this or not, or accept our proposition or not, we will continue to TiVo your show, dance in public, and watch all of your old stand-up on YouTube instead of studying for finals, but it would mean the world if you would please consider our proposal.
For a look at some of the tweets and photos from the campaign, check out the slideshow below.