The Office of Alumni Relations has organized three events for LGBTIQA alumni and students around the country as part of a continued effort to support and engage Bowdoin’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, questioning and allied community.

“The world has changed, and so has Bowdoin,” said Associate Dean of Student Affairs Allen Delong. “We have openly gay faculty, staff and students. We wanted alumni to see the changes we have made. For some people, their experience at Bowdoin was frozen in time as a place where they couldn’t be who they needed to be. This was the perfect way to find out who they became and for them to reintroduce themselves to the college.”

The first event was in New York City, followed by one in San Francisco. The third will be in Boston in March 2016.

The most recent event featured a panel titled “Bowdoin Then and Now”, which was comprised of alumni from each decade and a current student, Julian Tamayo ’16, who reflected on their experiences, both positive and negative, at Bowdoin.

Tamayo said the events highlighted the achievements that have been made in creating a progressive, accepting community at Bowdoin.

“Panelists shared really profound stories of their experiences at Bowdoin, of both their dark times and their less negative times,” said Tamayo. “By the time it was my turn to speak, I thought of the panel not as ‘Bowdoin Then and Now,’ but as ‘Bowdoin Then Through Now.’ I realized the tiny yet substantial victories made continuously across the decades have contributed to making Bowdoin a much more inclusive place for people like me today.”

Karl Reinhardt ’15 attended the San Francisco event and believes it allowed him to reflect on his own experiences.

“For me, the event provided an essential historical context of what it was like to identify as LGBTIQA (openly or not) while attending Bowdoin over the past few decades,” said Reinhardt in an email to the Orient. “The sharing of experiences of queer Bowdoin alumni who have graduated across many decades truly put my own experience at Bowdoin into perspective.”

These events were designed to provide a space for alumni to meet people who shared similar experiences and help encourage them to see what Bowdoin is like today.

“It has been heartwarming to connect with out Bowdoin alumni spanning six decades, some of whom are reconnecting with the college for the first time,” said Kate Stern, director of the resource center for sexual and gender diversity. “I have been inspired by our alumni and have enjoyed sharing with them what campus is like now for our LGBTIQA students.”

“It was interesting to see that many people wanted to run from Bowdoin,” said Tamayo. “For these alums, to hear what the likes of Allen [Delong] and Kate [Stern] are doing for the school can help restore their love for Bowdoin.”

Kate O’Grady, assistant director of alumni relations, helped organize the events, but she emphasized that the idea was driven by the Alumni Council Diversity Committee. 

“We hope [Boston] will be very well attended among both students and alumni, as Boston has the largest number of Bowdoin graduates in one area,” said O’Grady. “Both the NYC and San Francisco events had around a 65 percent turnout rate among those invited, which is fantastic. We are confident Boston will be the same.”

Despite Boston being the last panel discussion for the time being, the College will remain involved in fostering inclusion both on campus and off, according to O’Grady. 

“The alumni office will still help organize programming, but we want the alums to direct what’s meaningful to them,” O’Grady said. “In the future, our aim is to create a network of LGBTIQA alumni who will be accessible to current students to support them in various different ways, whether that be navigating life at Bowdoin or life after Bowdoin.”