The Community Advocacy for Sexual Expression (CASE) Initiative, founded by Student Government Association (SGA) First-Year Class Representative Declan Mears ’27 and Gender and Sexuality Senator Fiona Mundy ’26, is a recent project developed for St. Olaf’s LGBTQ+ community and its allies. The project aims to create a social environment that brings together the two previously distinct communities.
Mears, who calls the project his “brainchild,” started drafting the project after realizing the lack of community some queer students felt on campus. He recalls a time when two of his friends said they did not feel safe going to a party, especially because they are part of the LGBTQ+ community. “I just felt like that was a real issue,” Mears said. “I think that was the moment it became real for me to be like ‘Okay, I really want to make an event and a space for people to hang out.’”
Mundy explained that the main goal of their initiative is to fade the boundaries of “straight” and “queer” in order to sustain a more fully interconnected community.
“There’s a disconnect between the queer spaces on campus and the non-queer spaces on campus, and I feel like it’s hard to combine those in a way,” Mundy said.
However, this can be a heavy task to undertake. “We’re trying to mix oil and water here. A lot of people think that the two communities don’t really interact super well in one space,” Mears said. “We’re trying to break down the barrier there.”
Together, Mears and Mundy worked to assemble the details of what they wanted their organization to be. With their first event scheduled for Nov. 17, the two have planned for activities and food. Additionally, Mears shares that he has been working on providing shapewear, binders, padding, and other gender-affirming clothing for queer people on campus.
Mundy is also looking forward to the event. “I’m so excited to see who’s gonna show, and I am so excited to be talking to people about it, and I’m just excited for how the events are going to go,” Mundy said.
As the project continues to expand, Mears hopes that CASE can become long-term. “First of all, we want to get it a Senate Initiative so it’s renewed every year and it can’t be disbarred… I think that’s a big reason why we’re pushing for people to come because if [they do] we can prove that it’s good,” Mears said.
“We want to just make it so people can see other people as people,” Mundy said.
The initiative’s “Get to Know CASE” tabling event will be held near The Cage from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Nov. 17. The goal is for the campus community to learn more about various queer topics and the LGBTQ+ experience.