Thriving On Campus’ virtual conference series was comprised of three days of learning and action to support Ontario Universities student affairs and EDI (Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion) services regarding 2SLGBTQ+ inclusion, academic success and well-being. We’re pleased to be able to share out keynote presentations and panel discussions from this 3-Day event. 

Day 1 (keynotes 1-3) focused on exploring and understanding diverse 2SLGBTQ+ experiences, including in terms of their academics and wellbeing. Day 2 (keynotes 4-6) provided opportunities to explore gaps in university services and move toward solutions and action planning. Day 3 is set to happen on April 11 and will focus on highlighting ongoing initiatives that are making change in the lives of diverse 2SLGBTQ+ students on Ontario campuses, including BIPoC queer and trans students. 

Si vous avez des questions ou des commentaires sur les présentations du webinaire, veuillez nous contacter à 

You will also find other webinar recordings on our website, including ones on 2SLGBTQ terminology and key knowledge, gender-inclusive learning and work environments, supporting racially and culturally diverse 2SLGBTQ+ students, and best practices for pronoun use.

1. Fostering 2SLGBTQ+ Student Success Across Multiple Dimensions of Identity, Development & Learning

Description: Abundant evidence attests to the homophobia, harassment, and discrimination that gender and sexual minority (2SLGBTQ+) students face in university, yet growing evidence suggests that many 2SLGBTQ+ students thrive academically, personally, and socially. Drawing on theories of minority student identity development and student engagement and a mixed-methods study of 900 2SLGBTQ+ students and a four-year longitudinal study of a cohort of students who entered university already identifying as 2SLGBTQ+, Dr. Renn will demonstrate emerging conceptions of 2SLGBTQ+ student success across 2SLGBTQ+ and intersecting identities. She will use data from the US-based National Study of LGBTQ Student Success and an ecosystem approach to discuss the challenges diverse 2SLGBTQ+ face, implications for their development and academics, and the progress that has been made in promoting 2SLGBTQ+ student success.

Kristen Renn (she/her), Mildred B. Erickson Distinguished Professor of Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies for Student Success Research, Michigan State University


2. Thriving On Campus – Intersections of Campus Climate and Academics

Description: This talk summarizes findings about campus climate and students’ academic outcomes from Thriving On Campus and Promoting the Wellbeing and Academic Development of LGBT University Students in Canada studiesThe findings highlight the complexity and dynamic nature of students’ academic development, including the role of campus climate and resilience-promoting factors, such as grit, 2SLGBTQ+ student groups, and instructor support, suggesting that some students fare relatively well academically despite facing significant challenges. This talk will show the need for responsive policies and services as campuses work to foster students’ learning and academic growth.

Simon Coulombe (he/him)Associate Professor and the Relief Research Chair in Mental Health, Self-Management, and Work, Department of Industrial Relations, Université Laval

3. Fostering Wellbeing Among 2SLGBTQ+ Students: Multi-level Risk and Protective Factors

Description: There is a mental health crisis on campuses, including for 2SLGBTQ+ students. To support 2SLGBTQ+ students’ wellbeing, policymakers and practitioners need to address the risk and protective factors that contribute to the challenges and disparities that 2SLGBTQ+ students face. Based on positive psychology, to foster optimal wellbeing it is important to work wholistically by considering negative (e.g., depression) and positive (e.g., self-esteem) aspects of wellbeing. Further, it is necessary to broaden understandings of wellbeing beyond psychological aspects to include emotional and social components. Aligned with these priorities, this keynote will report findings from the US-based National Study of LGBTQ Student Success and two Canadian studies, Thriving On Campus and Understanding and Promoting the Wellbeing and Academic Development of LGBT University Students in Canada. Socio-ecological risk and protective factors, including campus climate indicators, that shape students’ wellbeing and implications for policy and practice interventions will be discussed.

Michael Woodford (he/him)Professor & Associate Dean: PhD Program, Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University

To view and download the presentation slides, please click here

4. Supporting 2SLGBTQ+ Students to Thrive on Campus

Description: Concepts of student thriving and resilience permeate the postsecondary landscape. From campus initiatives that aim to bolster students’ skills in managing stress to improving wellbeing, questions remain: what does thriving mean among 2SLGBTQ+ students? How can it be fostered? And where does responsibility lie for promoting thriving? Qualitative findings from Thriving On Campus will shed light on these critical questions. Results highlight the importance of understanding thriving wholistically by connecting identity, wellbeing, belonging, and academic growth, and the pivotal role of an affirming climate, faculty support, and 2SLGBTQ+ peers and student groups in promoting thriving. Regarding views about responsibility for thriving, findings point to the ways that institutions need to take accountability for creating thriving environments rather than simply seeing thriving as the responsibility of individual students..

Lauren Munro (she/her)Limited Term Faculty, School of Disability Studies,Toronto Metropolitan University

David A. Pereira (he/they)Lecturer in Sexual Diversity Studies, University of Toronto

Brandon R. G. Smith (he/him), Doctoral Candidate, Michigan State University

To view and download the presentation slides, please click here.

5. More Than a Checklist: Post-Secondary Wins and Gaps for Trans-Inclusion

Description: Gender identity and gender expression were added as protected grounds to Ontario’s Human Rights Code in 2012. This keynote panel will reflect on best practices implemented by post-secondary institutions in Ontario the past decade, and a candid discussion of priorities that are needed to make university and college campuses safe and welcoming for trans, non-binary, and Two Spirit staff, faculty, and students in the years ahead..

Jasper Fisher (he/him)MSc Student, University of British Columbia

Tai JacobJD student, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Michelle Poirier (she/they)Director of Human Rights, Ethical Associates

6. Promoting Inclusion and Allyhood – Safe Space Programming

Description: This keynote will discuss the development and implementation of the UWaterloo Making Spaces campaign, an initiative to promote the acceptance and inclusion of LGBTTQQIPA2S+ people on campus. Making Spaces is an education workshop and registration event where participants learn about gender identity/expression, sexual identity, homophobia, heterosexism, bi-phobia, transphobia and how these intersect with other identities. Participants also receive practical recommendations and support to enable them to serve and to support the UWaterloo community and be an ally for social equality and equity. Upon completion, participants are encouraged to display various forms of the visible indicators that honour their completion of the program and communicate that they wish to be identified as Space Makers who are LGBTTQQIPA2S+ affirming. In addition to learning about program content and its impact, strategies for successful implementation and sustainability will be discussed.

Corey Johnson (he/him)Distinguished Professor of Social Justice Research, Department of Parks, Recreation, & Tourism Management, North Carolina State University

To view and download the presentation slides, please click here.

7. Fostering 2SLGBTQ+ Inclusion on Campus: Experiences and Reflectionsnclusion and Allyhood – Safe Space Programming

Description: Universities throughout the province are working to foster 2SLGBTQ+ students’ inclusion, including through the Thriving On Campus project. Panelists are involved in such efforts at their universities, with some specifically focusing on 2SLGBTQ+ issues and others working within a broader student affairs/EDI mandate. Panelists will describe the approach being used at their university, discuss how priorities are identified and actions plans developed, including the role of research and community engagement, and offer reflections about opportunities, challenges, and lessons learned about promoting change.

Akeisha Lari, Manager, Student Engagement and Equity, Ontario Tech University

Yvette MunroAssistant Vice Provost of Student Success, York University

Jean Pfleidererformer Sexual and Gender Diversity Coordinator, Queen’s University

Keegan PrempehTrans and Non-Binary Inclusion Coordinator, Carleton University

8. Yellow House at Queen’s: An Intersectional Approach to Supporting QTBIPoC Student Communities

Description: The Yellow House Student Centre for Equity & Inclusion launched in 2020 as Queen’s newest centre in the Division of Student Affairs. The Yellow House team is committed to working together with partners on and off campus to create a comfortable and accountable space for students who identify as Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, and/or as People of Colour (QTBIPoC) to feel safe, create community, be empowered, celebrate their identity and flourish. Beyond creating a space for students to be themselves, the team also offers opportunities to support and empower QTBIPoC students who are interested in engaging with initiatives that actively dismantle oppressive, racist and colonial ideologies and practices. The Yellow House curates a suite of co-curricular programs and tools designed to develop acumen that build community and belonging, foster future changemakers, and connects students to university resources with a focus on connecting QTBIPoC students with QTBIPoC service providers. In this fireside chat-style session, panellists will introduce attendees
to the Yellow House vision and programs, and reflect on the possibilities and challenges of intersectional student support within university structures.

Deanna Fialho (she/her), Director, Yellow House Student Centre for Equity & Inclusion, Queen’s University

Kel Martin (he/him)Sexual and Gender Diversity Coordinator, Yellow House Student Centre for Equity & Inclusion, Queen’s University

9. Painting the Rainbow Outside the Lines: Collaboration, Capacity Building, and a Culture of Care with the QSSN

Description: Join members of the Queer Support Services Network of Western Canada (QSSN – pronounced kissin) as they discuss the challenges and opportunities of intercollegiate collaborative approaches to equity work on contemporary campuses. The panelists will explore themes that have been common to the work of the QSSN, including geographic challenges, sustainable equity work, institutional inertia, addressing emotional labour, and the power of solidarity inaction. They will also explore how the QSSN paved the way for the Northside Pride Collaborative Group of Edmonton, and how they were able to plan a single Pride Week for five schools of varying capacity to share in excellent programming. Lessons learned and strategies for success will be shared.

Carmen Arth (she/they), Vice-President Campus Life, Associate Professor, Concordia University of Edmonton

Tim Ira (he/him), Post-secondary Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Professional

Jessica Scalzo (she/her)Program Coordinator, MacEwan Centre for Sexual & Gender Diversity, MacEwan University