Over the last few years, I have been really excited to see all the fabulous campus improvements occur. Kudos to everyone involved. As an alumnus, I vividly recall helping to start or joining in on a number of student initiatives such as Safe Ride, SAAB movie nights, and blue safety lights. As a first-year student SA senator, I even dreamed of a campus gathering space in the old Moriarty House. What a difference just a handful of years and the support of the college administration can make in moving dreams into reality! While I was at Castleton, I was heavily invested in the campus as a student leader. I held a number of positions ranging from resident assistant (now known as a CA), SOS, SAAB officer, and general manager of WIUV (props on turning 30 by the way!). Through all these positions, I learned first-hand that to make something improve or change on campus, you had to make it happen. Despite discovering that some projects would take more time than others, I soon realized that in the end it was about leaving a legacy. I knew that my efforts would help make the campus a better place to learn and live for future students.
I am excited to return to campus to be part of the growing legacy of the TBA concert in mid April. I will be spinning a huge range of elector-pop, indie rock, and even pop and hip hop in a DJ set from 5 -6 p.m. on the main stage.
Since graduating in 2002, I have established myself as one of the only queer female DJs in the Burlington scene. For the past four years, I have hosted a weekly, Sunday night new music program on 99.9 the Buzz, as “DJ Llu.” The show features indie rock, electro pop, and the growing fusion between hip-hop and rock. The Buzz has a wide listening range, stretching from Castleton to Montreal. You can also tune in online at www.999thebuzz.com. For a few years, I also had a monthly residency at 135 Pearl, (the now closed LGBTQ bar in Burlington). Since last summer, I have been part of a monthly event at Higher Ground called “First Fridays.”
Despite the excitement and flare of being a local DJ, I have spent the vast majority of the past five years working at Outright Vermont. This organization’s mission is to build safe, supportive, and healthy environments for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (or simply queer) youth in Vermont. We provide programs that range from basic support services for young people who are questioning their sexuality to working with schools around the state to address bullying based on actual or perceived sexual orientation.
I have slowly worked my way up from program director to co-executive director, to full executive director of the agency. Working for such an important mission has kept me energized and motivated through a number of really intense events ranging form funding shortfalls to neo-conservative attacks on the mission of the organization. Through it all I have found that my multi-faceted Castleton education both in the classroom as a communication major and across the campus as a student leader, gave me a firm foundation from which to succeed in all my positions.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from Professor Bob Gershon. When I was struggling to find a direction after graduation he said “what do you want to do when you get up every morning?” This advice helped direct me toward taking the job at Outright Vermont. I have found that while challenging at times, working in the non-profit sector is truly inspiring. I strongly encourage Castleton students to pursue non-profit work at some point in your career. Everyone should have a chance to work for social change, which ultimately helps make the world a better place.