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University of Wisconsin – Madison

Leadership Programs

The LGBT Campus Center offers programs to help LGBTQ and ally students develop their leadership potential.  

Queer Emerging Leaders Program (QUELP)

Queer Emerging Leaders Program (QUELP) is a thirteen-week program tailored for undergraduate students who are interested in exploring queer identity and developing leadership skills that will help them serve their communities. Participants have the option of elective participation, academic credit, or CfLI Leadership Certificate hours.

As part of QUELP, you can look forward to:

  • Meeting and building connections with other students invested in queer organizing
  • Developing leadership skills based on UW-Madison's new Leadership Framework
  • Participating in a semester-long project that will help you build connections between your communities
  • Leaving with a stronger sense of self after exploring your own identities through the lenses of identity models, queer narratives, and intersectional work
Sign up at the QUELP registration form!
Questions? Contact or the LGBT Campus Center.

What to expect from QUELP

We will meet every Monday, January 26-April 20 from 6:00-8:00pm in the LGBT Campus Center. Participants will discuss readings about queer experiences, different models of leadership, and how to build a framework for your work that considers overlapping power and oppressions. Their work centers on an individually-tailored, 8-week community engagement project with a campus or community organization, and they present on that project at the end of the program. The program combines social identity and community building with development of campus and community organizing and leadership skills.

See the QUELP 2016 Syllabus (.docx) to see what we're reading, learning, and talking about this semester!

How can I get academic or CfLI credit?

Depending on your academic department, we may have faculty partners who can help sponsor your participation in QUELP for credit. If this can be arranged, you can register for a 699 one-credit independent study and receive that credit with successful completion of the program.

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 service project participation, journal reflections, and a final presentation about the community engagement project. 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 QUELP as you put into it! 

Is QUELP for graduate students too?

The program is tailored for first- and second-year undergraduates. If you are interested in participating or volunteering as a graduate student, please contact us and we’ll talk about what you’re looking for and how QUELP can work for you.

Can community members participate?

Unfortunately, this initiative is only for UW students this year. Community members are always welcome at LGBT Campus Center public events, including speaker series, movie screenings, and socials.

I identify as straight and non-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 with the expectation and intention that queer lives and experiences will be the focus of the readings and discussions. 

Why do you use "queer" rather than other terms?

“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 is still growing and developing. If you are interested, we would love your help in developing the program’s 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 in QUELP. Whether you have specific accessibility requirements (large print or digital format, fragrance-free space, etc) or just know what you need to fully engage with the program, please contact us.

SQUAD retreat

SQUAD is a spring break long weekend retreat in Green Lake, Wisconsin! Participants will practice resilience tools and dialogue across difference, connect their passions to larger movements, and bring back connections and community with other LGBTQ+ students. Expect to rejuvenate, de-stress, and practice and learn strategies for self-care and community health. All are welcome!

Green Lake

GLCC has paths, fire pits, and a beautiful lake shore! SQUAD has time for leisure and rejuvenation because self care is community care.

Craft supplies

Arts and expression are so important! Get ready for poster-making, button-making, zines, and other outlets for creativity in telling our stories.

Group at LI 2015

Connect and make friends across campuses in small Rainbow Groups with staff and faculty support! Each group gets their own color of the rainbow.

What to Expect from SQUAD

SQUAD is free to UW-Madison students and includes travel, lodging, and meals.  It is structured around activities, engaging workshops, and discussions and will also provide ample social time.

You will be able to explore:

  • Your own LGBTQ+ identity and its intersections, and what that means in community with others
  • Connecting movements to shared liberation through cross-movement solidarity
  • Strategies toward self-care, community health, boundaries, and accountability
  • Building close and resilient relationships to each other

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Join a rainbow group with 6-8 other participants, led by student and staff co-facilitators, to build connections
  • Participate in large group sessions, workshops, and caucus spaces with staff, faculty, and community partners
  • Feel refreshed, connected, and activated in your communities

SQUAD 2017

SQUAD 2017 will be held from the afternoon of Friday, March 17 through midday Monday, March 20, at the Green Lake Conference Center (GLCC) in Green Lake, Wisconsin.


Sign up to be a participant by filling out the form below! After the spaces are full, we will run a waitlist. Register now!


There is no charge for your participation! The LGBT Campus Center provides food, lodging, and transportation via charter bus to and from Green Lake.

Lodging & location

The GLCC is a large complex on the lake in Green Lake, Wisconsin. We have reserved a modest dorm building with meeting spaces, and we will be the only group on that part of the campus. There are fire pits, hiking trails, and other activities right on site. Plus we'll have wifi!

We will travel to the main campus of GLCC for dinner each day- a 10-minute walk, or brief drive in our provided vehicles. The rest of the meals are at our dorms.
Rooms are 2-4 people per room in single bunks or beds, with shared restrooms per 4-8 people. Linens are provided. Restrooms in the dorms are all gender-inclusive. Restrooms on the rest of campus are gender-segregated multi-stall facilities.


A full schedule will be announced closer to the weekend. We have planned in plenty of leisure and connection time, as well as individual, small group, and large group reflection. Plus snacks!

For more information, contact us at and follow SQUAD 2017 on Facebook!

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