A group of QUELP students posing together


QUELP: Queer Emerging Leaders Program


QUELP is a thirteen-week spring course for undergraduate and graduate students interested in exploring race, dis/ability, class, and other social dynamics through an LGBTQ+ lens and developing leadership skills that will help you serve your communities. Students have the option of elective participation, 1 academic credit through the Dept. of Gender and Women’s Studies, and/or hours toward the CfLI Leadership Certificate.

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What to expect

As part of QUELP, students can expect to:

  • Meet and build connections with other students invested in community organizing
  • Develop leadership skills based on UW-Madison’s Leadership Framework
  • Create, present, and distribute a zine project for making positive change in your communities
  • Leave with a stronger sense of self after exploring your identities through intersectional narratives

Sign up!

We can take registrants up until the first day of the course. Sign up at the QUELP 2020 registration form!

If you are taking the course for academic credit, you will receive faculty permission to register for GWS 699.

Questions about the curriculum, the project, or getting involved? Contact the facilitators below.

QUILL: Queer Interpersonal Life skills Lab

Spring 2021: virtual meetings from 5:30pm – 7:00pm every Monday, February 8th through April 26th

QUILL is an online 12-week peer-lead lgbtq+ community growth and learning course. QUILL is open to undergraduate, graduate, and special students looking to explore interpersonal skill development, hone their communication skills, conflict styles, build community connections, develop deeper sense of self and identity, and build personal and community resiliency.

“QUILL was a welcome addition to my course schedule because it allowed me to connect with my community and learn about myself at the same time.” – 2019 participant

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What to expect

As part of QUILL, you can look forward to:

  • Meeting and building connections with other students invested in queer community building
  • Developing conflict resolution, boundary setting, negotiation, and accountability practices
  • Participating in a semester-long project that will help you build connections between your communities and relationships
  • Leaving with a stronger sense of self after exploring your own relationships (romantic, academic, platonic, professional) and identities via identity models, queer narratives, and intersectional work

Sign up!

We can take registrants up until the second week of the Spring semester. Sign up at the QUILL 2021 registration form!

Questions about the curriculum, the project, or getting involved?  Contact the facilitators below.

Binder and index cards
QUILL binder and index card self-portraits


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How can I get academic or Leadership Certificate credit?

We have faculty partners who can help sponsor your participation for credit with successful completion of the program.

  • QUELP: you can register for a 699 one-credit independent study in Gender and Women’s Studies by working with the facilitators
  • QUILL: you can register for Counseling Psych 105, section 007, just like any other course

You may also count QUELP for 30 hours of Out-of-Class Learning Hours toward the CfLI Leadership Certificate. This is the maximum number of hours allowed toward Out-of-Class Learning. Please contact us with any questions.

Will I get a letter grade?

Each student will earn a letter grade based on class and/or service project participation, journal reflections, and/or final presentations. QUELP has more readings, while QUILL has more activities in session.

The grades will be most useful for folks getting academic credit, but will also help everyone gauge progress throughout the semester. You get as much out of our courses as you put into it!

Are the courses for grad students or community members?

You’re welcome to join us as graduate students! You may choose to contact facilitators to chat about your particular goals for joining the courses. Students of all statuses are welcome, including part-time, special, and professional students.

Unfortunately, courses are only for UW-Madison students. Community members are always welcome at Gender and Sexuality Campus Center public events, including speaker series, movie screenings, and socials.

I'm straight and not trans. Am I welcome?

We know that many straight-identified, non-trans people practice allyship around LGBTQ issues in their personal and professional lives. You are invited to join QUELP or QUILL with the expectation and intention that queer lives and experiences will be the focus of the readings and discussions.

Why do you use the term "queer"?

“Queer” is definitely a term with a complicated history. We have seen a movement in student groups and youth organizing towards using “queer” as an umbrella term for many gender and sexual minority identities. In other words, it can be more inclusive than most other terms. Also, it tends to carry a political meaning– “queering” systems can mean disrupting an oppressive status quo.

We also recognize that many people see “queer” as claimed by/applying to only a particular subset of people. QUELP and QUILL are still growing and developing. If you are interested, we would love your help in developing the courses’ focus and content to be more inclusive of gender and sexual identities that don’t necessarily fit under an LGBTQ model.

I need accommodations to participate. What should I do?

We want everyone to be able to participate. Whether you have specific accessibility requirements (large print or digital format, low-fragrance space, etc) or just know what you need to fully engage with the program, please contact us.


QUILL team

Sami Estrada

Position title: Student Staff for Leadership

Email: sestrada3@wisc.edu

York Chow

Position title: QTPOC Health Intern

M.Rose Sweetnam

Position title: Event and Accessibility Coordinator

Email: msweetnam@wisc.edu