Adrien Townsend, a public policy student minoring in history at Rockhurst University, is active in addressing issues of inclusion and safety for LGBTQ individuals on campus and in the metro area. Adrien works to build an inclusive community through relationship building, conversation, and educational activities.
Motivated by empathy for those they serve, a strong will to do what is right, and the need to enact justice through systematic change, Adrien wants to pursue work in the legal field, with a focus on civil rights and criminal justice reform. Throughout Adrien’s time at Rockhurst, they have worked with UNITY, an LGBTQ organization, to make our campus a more affirming environment for students, faculty and staff. During Adrien’s leadership, the organization led a voter registration drive, hosted queer entertainers, and educated their fellow RU community members the importance of pronouns for trans individuals. Adrien’s work with UNITY has been extremely impactful, leading to social shifts on campus and new policies that affirm and recognize the struggles of LGBTQ students. Adrien hopes to continue this legacy of making Rockhurst a safer place for current students and those yet to come.
I have always found that lifting up the marginalized voices in society makes the biggest impact. As a big proponent of intersectionality, I believe it is crucial to tackle social issues on multiple fronts. In this manner, I am a part of a Student Advisory Board, housed within the Disability Resource Center, to ensure that our campus and the education it supplies is accessible to all people. As a member of the Black Student Union, I organized poetry slams to facilitate the creative expression of marginalized voices; I also mentored high school girls to provide them with guidance on their plans post-graduation and provide them with a positive role model that can relate to them culturally. As Secretary for UNITY, Rockhurst University’s LGBTQ+ group, I organized a voter registration drive to promote civic engagement among my community members, and to ensure underrepresented groups access to voting information. I have also created programming to teach individuals how to compassionately approach topics centering LGBTQ issues. As current Vice President of this organization, I have presented at conferences, influenced campus policies centering Trans rights and acted as an ambassador for the Queer community in group settings.