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Ivey Pride Clubs advance opportunities for 2SLGBTQ+ students

Jun 1, 2022

Pride Club Group

L to r: 2021-2022 Pride Club members Sarah Hunter, Zach Train, Baowen Zhang, and Courtney Young.

There are two separate Pride clubs at Ivey: the HBA Pride Club and the MBA Pride Club. Each differs in membership focus and activities.

HBA Pride Club

The HBA Pride Club began as Out at Ivey in 2013. Founded by William Metcalfe Lee, HBA ’14, and Simon Mills, HBA ’16, their goal was to establish a community of 2SLGBTQ+ students and share the business successes of 2SLGBTQ+ individuals. In 2019, Out at Ivey was rebranded as Ivey Pride.

The club has approximately 40 2SLGBTQ+ student members. Its membership is restricted to queer and trans students. Since undergraduate students are often still beginning the process of accepting their own identities, limiting membership and some events to 2SLGBTQ+ students only allows members to control who they are out to. For this reason, the club has three levels of membership; confidential and on the mailing list, out to club members only, and out to everyone.

The three pillars of engagement the club focuses on are:

  1. Cultivate a positive social community for 2SLGBTQ+ students;
  2. Facilitate 2SLGBTQ-centric networking for internships and full-time recruiting; and,
  3. Work alongside the student associations and Ivey administration to advocate for the needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

The club provides support through networking opportunities, events, and speakers; off-campus social events including wine nights, and a winter formal; book and movie clubs; and a monthly community newsletter.

MBA Pride Club

The MBA Pride Club includes approximately 40 2SLGBTQ+ folks and their allies who work to create a safe and welcoming environment for members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community on campus. The club aims to increase job opportunities for 2SLGBTQ+ people to take on leadership roles so they can also continue to advocate for the community.

Its purpose is to connect and create current and future business leaders in Canada and around the world. Part of the LGBT+ Business Student Alliance and ROMBA, the MBA Pride Club focuses on inclusion and representation no matter your sexual orientation.

The club offers networking opportunities, monthly gatherings to discuss queer-related topics, opportunities for prospective students to learn more about 2SLGBTQ+ student life on campus, and informal education on current 2SLGBTQ+ issues.

Why get involved with the Ivey Pride Clubs?

Ivey students Zach Train, and Vishal Vijay (both HBA '22), and Sarah Hunter (HBA '23) were all junior executives on the HBA Pride Club prior to becoming co-presidents in 2021-2022. While they joined the club for different reasons, they agree that joining the club was one of the best decisions of their university years.

Courtney Young and Baowen Zhang (both MBA '22) were President and Vice-President respectively of the MBA Pride Club in 2021-2022.

Vishal Vijay first got involved within 2SLGBTQ+ organizations at Western when attending the Out4Undergrad conference in his first year. He benefited so strongly from being able to network with other queer undergrad students that he wanted to pay it forward to other students.

Sarah Hunter decided to join the HBA Pride Club to build social connections with other 2SLGBTQ+ students. Prior to joining the club, she hadn't crossed paths with any other queer students so becoming a club member allowed her to begin that process. Her passion for social justice made her most drawn to the advocacy work being done in Ivey Pride.

Zach Train got involved with the HBA Pride Club because he wanted to meet other driven and hardworking students interested in celebrating their queer identities. One of his favourite surprises about the club is how many club members are similarly interested in leveraging business knowledge in non-traditional fields like law and humanities.

Courtney Young knows first-hand the power of bringing queer folks together and fostering an environment where you can bring your full self every day. She has lasting memories of engaging in various Pride Clubs throughout her career and wanted to ensure students in the MBA program felt a similar impact.

Baowen Zhang has been supported and helped during her own personal coming-out journey and she wants to give back to the community. She says it’s critical to foster a safer and more inclusive environment for everybody. Being who you are and accepting your authentic identity is key to happiness.

What’s next?

The HBA Pride Club is looking forward to continuing to expand its mentorship program and strengthening collaborative relationships across the larger school community.

Last year, it created a mentorship program for all HBA1s, and this year opened it up to any first and second-year Western students interested in Ivey (AEO not a requirement). The club hopes to attract more pre-Ivey students looking for social connections and mentorship in the coming years.

The MBA Pride Club is eager to continue to connect with the HBA students to strengthen relationships and collaboration across the larger school community.