Alumnus encourages Alliance members

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Will Hansen, executive director of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee, spoke to Alliance Sunday night in the New Richmond south commons room.

Hansen, who is an alumnus of Murray State, spoke about his time at Murray State along with his life and job in Washington, D.C.

Hansen oversees all activities of the committee’s economists, policy and administrative staff.

“It is great to be a LGBT staffer on the hill,” Hansen said. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was a wonderful experience being on the hill when that happened.”

Hansen said he has been lucky because in Washington, D.C., it is good to be LGBT-friendly.

“On the hill, it can be frustrating every now and then when you have to interact with staffers and other members of Congress that are more conservative,” Hansen said. “You can’t show your frustration because it can be seen as unprofessional.”

After his opening remarks, Hansen opened the floor for questions. Alliance members were interested in his involvement with Greek life on campus.

Alliance president, Will Heath said group leaders want to have more outreach with the Greek organizations on campus.

Hansen, a 2002 graduate spent his years at the University as the vice president of Student Government Association and as member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

A topic Hansen and Heath discussed was having the Greek life officers go through diversity training.

Heath said he was also open to advice from Hansen on Alliance outreach.

The group is working on contacting more alumni to inform them about the LGBT events at Murray State. Hansen said a lot of alumni are curious about what is going on with Alliance.

“The Alliance was not advertised when I was here,” Hansen said. “Most LGBT alumni were probably not out when they were here; we came out of the closet once we left Murray State. It will be a slow process in developing a list of alumni who are out of the closet now.”

Hansen also spoke to a group of about 30 at the first LGBT alumni reception in Nashville on Oct. 29. President Randy Dunn spoke at the event.

“It was a great to have Dr. Dunn there talking about issues facing the LGBT community,” Hansen said. “The next step will be the resource center for the LGBT community.”

Hansen said one of his goals while on campus was to discuss the possibility of having an LGBT resource center. He said a physical space is needed, and that a center would help promote programs for the LGBT community.

“The University has a huge recruitment plan and there are not enough services provided,” Hansen said. “Implementing a resource center will help recruitment continue to grow.”

Hansen spent Monday on campus talking to professors and speaking to several economics classrooms.

“LGBT students need to see successful LGBT individuals that were at one time sitting where they are today in MSU classrooms,” Jody Cofer, adviser for Alliance, said via email. “We are fortunate to have so many LGBT alumni that are out about who they are and are successful individuals. Will was a great choice and there are numerous others that I am hoping to campus in the future as model for other students.”

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