Through dance, drag and prose, OWU students raised $80 last Saturday to help fund a mission trip.
The Chicago Mission Team of 12 students and two faculty advisors will be traveling to Chicago during spring break.
They hope to explore issues of homelessness and poverty, as well as other issues within Chicago’s marginalized LGBTIQA community.
“I decided to propose the team because it’s never been done before,” said senior Nola Johnson, co-leader of the mission team. “I thought it would be great to explore the issues [beyond same-sex marriage] within the LGBTIQA community,”
The team will be working with various organizations that provide services for at risk LGBTIQA youth.
Junior Meredith Harrison, co-leader of the mission team, said she jumped at the opportunity to attend the trip.
“Since I am interested in the intersectionalities of race and poverty within the LGBT community, I knew I wanted to be a part of this team,” Harrison said.
“There is only so much reading and documentary viewing that can be done about these issues.”
The team as a whole came up with the drag show as a fund-raising idea.
“We thought it would be a fun way to raise money,” said Johnson. “And [drag] is a subculture of the LGBT community.”
Harrison said she thought the show would generate a lot of support and attendance.
“Although drag performers don’t always necessarily identify with the LGBTIQA community, it is an art that is often associated with gay culture,” she said.
“We do plan on attending a drag show in Chicago as a fun team bonding activity.”
Unfortunately for the team, professional drag show performers were harder to contact than they had imagined.
Harrison said it was difficult to get professionals over the weekend because of Valentine’s Day.
There was also no budget for the performers, which made it even more difficult to get them to attend.
About 30 students were present at the show, but the money raised still pleased the team members.
“I would have been happy with any amount of money raised, but I was surprised when I heard the total,” said Harrison.
“I was really impressed and thankful for everyone’s monetary support.”
There were a total of six performances at the show that included an opening act by Jenna Culina ‘13, who performed as “Dustin Beavers” and was the emcee of the event.
Other sets were performed to rap and country music, there was also a recital of lines from Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”.
“In between performances we played music,” said Johnson. “It was literally a drag show and a dance party.”
Senior Alisa Nammavong, another member of the mission team said, “Even though the numbers were small, the energy was definitely there.”
She said the hardest part about getting more students to attend such events is the fact that OWU has so much going on that a lot of events clash one another.
“There are so many mission teams that dates get confused with others and such so it was a challenge to really stand out and not overwhelm the student population,” she said. “I really was thankful for all the performers. They really made the show!”