Skip to main content
Diversity and Inclusion

Empowering Futures: The Journey of the Queer Business Student Association at Poole College

Established in fall 2023, the QBSA stands out as a testament to the power of community, professional development and identity-based organizations.

Queer Business Student Association Founder Colin Adams next to Poole pride banner.
Queer Business Student Association founder Colin Adams, a senior business major in Poole College

In the vibrant tapestry of university life, diversity and inclusion are pivotal threads that weave together the unique experiences of every student. At Poole College, the Queer Business Student Association (QBSA) stands out as a testament to the power of community, professional development and identity-based organizations.

In the spring of 2023, senior business major Colin Adams embarked on a mission to create a space for queer-identifying students at Poole College. Adams had observed a lack of representation and community for queer individuals within the college and was inspired to address this gap. He reached out to fellow students and Tayah Butler, Poole’s assistant dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, to explore the possibility of a queer business student affinity group.

Adams, along with Asa Humphries (treasurer and co-founder) and Jenna Lenweaver (VP of membership), officially launched QBSA in the fall of the same year. Gwyn Howard, an academic advisor in Poole’s Office of Undergraduate Programs and the group’s advisor, played a crucial role in guiding them through the foundational stage. Establishing traditions, fostering a sense of community and providing a space for queer business majors were among their primary goals.

QBSA, currently boasting around 15 members, holds monthly meetings, treating each gathering as an opportunity for engaging conversations. The meetings cover a spectrum of topics, from the group’s purpose to icebreakers, professional development opportunities and future plans. Events like PrideFest, study spaces and hot cocoa socials are just a glimpse into the diverse activities that QBSA organizes.

The journey of QBSA has not been without its challenges. Adams notes the initial difficulty in finding members considering the unique and varied experiences within the queer community. However, through perseverance and a commitment to inclusivity, QBSA has successfully become a visible and impactful presence on campus, even gaining recognition from NC State’s LGBTQ Pride Center.

Adams’ leadership style revolves around forming genuine relationships. By encouraging everyone, including himself, to come out of their shells, he creates an atmosphere where every member feels valued and heard. QBSA’s emphasis on authenticity has been instrumental in fostering a strong sense of community.

Poole pride supplies spread on table.

QBSA has already achieved significant milestones, such as assisting with the organization of PrideFest, being featured on NC State’s radio station WKNC-FM, and launching their own website. Looking ahead, the group aims to expand its presence beyond Poole College, implementing a mentorship program and participating in more university-wide events.

As the group’s advisor, Howard underscores the profound impact of identity-based organizations. She emphasizes the importance of representation for queer students in professional environments and hopes that QBSA continues to grow not only in membership but also in recognition and support.

“Being queer is not a very visible aspect of your identity, but it’s still a very important part of people’s identity. So having that and seeing it in a professional setting is amazing,” said Adams.

For Adams and QBSA, the journey doesn’t end at graduation. The group’s sustainability is anchored in the shared passion and vision of its members. The group ensures continuity, while plans for growth include a mentorship program and increased presence at both the college and university levels. QSBA does not limit membership to declared Poole students and is open to any student at NC State.

In reflecting on their experiences, both Adams and Howard highlight the importance of community and representation. QBSA stands not just as an affinity group but as a beacon of empowerment, fostering connections and creating a space where every queer student at NC State can find a sense of belonging.

As QBSA continues to evolve and make strides, it leaves an indelible mark on the university landscape, promising a future where diversity, inclusion and empowerment go hand in hand.