Campus Pride Blog

Student Leader Spotlight: Spencer Whalen

Spencer Whalen
Hometown: Bethesda, MD
College/University: Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA (First 2 Years), Occidental College, Los Angeles, CA (Last 2 Years)
Class: Senior
Major/Area of Study: Chemistry and Spanish

What has been the most rewarding part of your experience with Campus Pride?

Making and sustaining great friendships with all of my fellow campers. My time at camp gave me friends from all over the country with different backgrounds and perspectives that I never understood before I went to camp.

How has what you’ve learned with Campus Pride benefited you personally?

Everything I learned at camp helped me excel inside and outside of the classroom. I have been on the executive committee of my school’s QSA since camp. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be selected as a representative of my school at NGLTF’s Creating Change Conference. Additionally, I have taken on leadership roles in my classes as a recipient of my school’s summer research grant as well as a respected member of Oxy’s Varsity Swim Team.

How have the skills or knowledge you’ve gained through your Campus Pride experienced assisted you in creating change on your campus or in you community?

Campus Pride gave me the resources to truly understand and interact with people of different identities and backgrounds. The most important lesson from camp was remembering the transgender community which is often a forgotten body of the LGBT movement. I was one of the first people to bring an openly transgender activist, Mara Keisling, to my campuses: Bucknell University and Occidental College. Mara was greeted warmly in both settings, teaching others the importance of trans issues today.

What accomplishment — personally or at your student club, community organization, on your campus or elsewhere — makes you most proud? Why?  

My most proud accomplishment after camp was being selected by Bucknell University to represent the campus at the NGLTF’s Creating Change conference in Minneapolis last year. This was my proudest moment because it reflected all of my hard work for the LGBT community at Bucknell and it was also a moment for me to share the work of my peers and late friend and mentor, Fran McDaniel.

What would be your advice to another student looking toward creating change on their campus or in their community?  

The most important aspect of activism is knowing that people are always watching you for guidance, be everything you believe. Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”