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Volume 1 | Issue 1 | June/July 2020





editor rj walters-dorchak our collaborators this issue rae gilmore crysi muhwezi

rachell krell amber gordon

becca franssen

regional director rae gilmore ad for administration and finance becca franssen ad for nrhh jen garcia co for ncc training and development rachell krell co for presidential relations and rha ally kittle co for service and nrhh riley sparks co for marketing and technology rj walters-dorchak regional advisor jamie lloyd regional nrhh advisor amber gordon

on the cover The Maroon Bells outside of Aspen, Colorado are an icon of Colorado and draw thousands every year. The stunning peaks are two 14ers, or a mountain whose elevation is over 14,000 ft. Maroon Peak, in the center is 14,163 ft. and North Maroon Peak, left is 14,019 ft. Maroon Peak is the 27th tallest mountain in the State of Colorado.




Past and Future Perspectives Letters from our outgoing and incoming Regional Directors, reflecting on their time and giving us a look into what's next for our region


Pride Month in the Intermountain Highlighting Pride Month in IACURH. We share some numbers, some of our work, and some history of the fight for LGBTQIA+ Equality.


Black Lives Matter Here we share a few of the resources currently available at iacurh.nacurh.org/black-lives-matter as well as some works of Black American Literature and Film

MEET THE RBD BECCA FRANSSEN Pronouns : She/Her/Hers Position : Associate Director


Administration and Finance

Host institution : University of Utah Favorite Color : Pink...at the moment Favorite TV Show : Parks and Rec Favorite Album/Artist : Bad Blood by Bastille

Why did you choose to run for your position on the board ? Over the past year, I've been able to see IACURH operate with an alumni's lens as I was in, what I liked to call, retirement. I identified many areas in the region I'd love to improve, as I believe we need to build a more equitable and actionable IACURH. I saw the financial piece of the role as a professional challenge for me, where the administrative part is something that has always been more comfortable for me. I am truly looking forward to create changes to our policies and practices, and I cannot wait to connect with the students in our region and alumni along the way to make it happen!

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year ? - Address our boardroom culture by presenting legislation that removes Q&A from award bid sessions, implement a mandatory anti-bias training for all boardroom representatives, and develop a more engaging RLC experience for boardroom representatives. - Create a strong and organized network of alumni. Our alumni are here and they care, it's time to tap into that network, hear their concerns, and find ways for them to become involved and connected. - Develop consistent practices by creating bid-session minutes templates that provide a visible script and parli-pro outline to be viewed in real time by all participants and establishing a concrete post-RBC election process. - However, what is most important to me is listening to the needs and ideas of our constituents in order to be as proactive as possible in addressing concerns and taking on new initiatives. More of my initial goals along with a brief "how" can be found in my bid, I'd love for you to look there and reach out if you have questions or ideas: Becca's Bid



How are you/have you been involved on your campus? I started off my housing journey as the third floor floor representative for White Pine Hall at the University of Nevada, Reno (rest in peace, it was torn down in January of 2016). After a year of being involved in RHA, I was elected as the NRHH VP of Recognition then eventually the President a year later. After my term as President of the Nevada Chapter, I became the first ever Coordinating Officer for Service & NRHH for the Intermountain which took place during my last year of college. I was also a Resident Assistant for three years! Now, I'm a second-year graduate student and serve as the Graduate Assistant for our on-campus apartments and serve as a board advisor for RHA.

Schmitty, Becca's cat and the unofficial RBD Mascot



PAST & FUTURE PERSPECTIVES By Rae Gilmore & Crysi Muhwezi Photographs from Rae Gilmore & Crysi Muhwezi



current and former regional directors share their journey, experience, perspectives and goals



When I first arrived at the University of Colorado Boulder the first day of my freshman year, I had no idea what my place in that enormous campus would be. I had graduated from a class of twenty, and then suddenly I lived on a floor with twice that many students. My journey to this point in my life has been shaped by a million decisions that felt small at the time, but retrospectively were huge steps forward. When I answered an email from my hall director recruiting for hall council, I had no idea that two months later I would be president of that council. I could never have imagined that I would be elected NRHH President just days after being inducted into my chapter. When I started my first term as a NRHH president, I was uninterested in IACURH. Now I’m the regional director. The freshman who stood in her room unpacking boxes and wondering where life would take her could never have seen this coming. It’s never been an easy journey, and it won’t be easy this next year either. What I’ve learned in the last three years is that the best things in life are also the hardest. The true power of IACURH does not come from those who sit on the board. No one on the RBD recruited me to RHA and NRHH - I didn’t even know what IACURH was when I joined my campus’s executive board. I would not be where I am today if it were not for the people on my campus who believed in me and took the time to foster my potential. What drew me into student leadership was a desire to become someone who could make an impact in my community. I see that same spark in all of our reps, and it gives me immeasurable hope.



What makes IACURH and the people that belong to it "the best by far" to me is the passion that we have inside of us to do better and become the best that we can be. We keep pushing and striving no matter how far we've come, because we know that together there is always a way forward. We genuinely want to be the best by far, but none of us are here for ourselves. We all have chosen to give a large amount of our lives to RHA and NRHH because we know the impact that our work has on the students on our campuses. Sometimes it may feel like you don't make a difference, but I promise you that whether you know it or not, you will change someone's life. The current state of our world forces us to confront a future in student leadership that we never imagined. The way we’ve structured our campuses and our regions is going to change to adapt to the needs of our students. It’s going to be difficult to fundamentally re-evaluate everything we know about our organizations. While this uncertainty is terrifying, I believe that our student leaders will channel the passion inside of them and create a lasting legacy that reinforces the power of residential leadership for years to come.





The first few years of my journey in IACURH were filled with getting as involved as I possibly could, knowing some time I would reach a point where not being a student would hold me back from being involved. I wanted to be a leader, but I knew that would require me to overcome some big hurdles that I constantly allowed myself to be held back by. Obviously, with the incredible support I had on my campus I did just that. It was then, that getting back to school meant that I could hold leadership positions I had not been able to run for previously because I wasn’t a student. The conversations started with how much I loved being an NCC and that I would love to support them as CONCCTD. I had my institutions full support to run for the board, and one day when I was sitting discussing the difference I wanted to make in the region, how I wanted to change the culture and conversations happening, and I wanted to bring the focus back to the people and ensure everything we did was for them and about them, because truly that is what I believe IACURH should be all about, my advisor kindly asked, have you considered running for Director? No way! That was never on my radar nor something I had considered as a position that “fit” me. My advisor told me to think about it and be sure that I decided to run for whatever positions would give me the growing I was seeking for. I think my nature, that is how I am, and Matt understood that. So, before long I had decided to “do it”, just for the growth opportunity that I knew submitting a bid would be. I knew it would teach me a lot and help me lead better, it would give me the chance to really decide what goals I wanted to focus on, and it would allow me to understand the board better. It would prepare me for being a better CONCCTD. I had no intention of being elected Director, it was simply for my personal growth. I will be honest, there were moment even after I was elected that I had major doubts and big struggles with imposter syndrome. I remember being ready to “compete” and preparing to show the region how I hit all the same targets as the candidate I was running against.



My first big lesson was during my election. It shaped how I determined to lead as a Regional Director. Two minutes before I was to walk into the room for my proponent speech my entire direction shifted. I realized this wasn’t a competition anymore but that I wanted to offer the region something different. I didn’t want to go in addressing all these boxes I had created for myself. I wanted to be sure that my competitive nature didn’t stand in the way of me helping the region feel and know that I wanted to give back to an organization and group of people who have altered my life and my future. I really just wanted to make a difference and bring the focus back to the representatives. I still feel that one of the greatest honors of my life was knowing the region saw past my imperfections and gave me the opportunity to be the Director. Additionally, I learned that we can be imperfectly perfect. I realized the journey was imperfect, I was imperfect, but the position was perfect for my growth, the growth of the region, and the growth of the people. I really had to learn to balance my time because I wanted to give everything to the region, but the truth is, I gave the region 100% of what I was able to give and that was most important. I also learned quickly how important other people would be for me. I can’t tell you how many times I wondered how we could accomplish something and someone on my board or a representative in the region had the ability to make it happen. Leadership is not a solo experience and it was way better with others. I am so grateful for the supportive and visionary team and representatives I was able to work with. Together we accomplished a lot, started a lot, and changed a lot. Leadership is a journey, we are meant to discover ourselves and others along the path. If I had continued to allow the voices in my head to keep me from reaching for the stars I know at least for myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I like to think that because I changed, so did the region. Thank you for trusting me to serve, for teaching me along the way, and for making this past year the best by far! I cant wait to see what lies in store for the Intermountain. I know it will be great because the people in this region make it great. THE ASCEND / JUNE 2020


MEET THE RBD RACHELL KRELL Pronouns : Position :Â Coordinating


Officer for NCC

Training and Development

Host institution : Northern Arizona University Favorite Color : Red Favorite TV Show : Parks and Rec, Brooklyn 99, & The Good Place

Favorite Album/Artist : Anything

by Bastille

Why did you choose to run for your position on the board ? I chose to run for my position because I am passionate about helping regional reps, specifically NCCs, find a home within IACURH like I did during my term. As a former NCC, I know that while this is the most fulfilling job, it can be difficult at times, so I want to do everything I can to uplift each NCC through all the highs and the lows. I am so excited to serve as a resource, support system, and cheerleader to the 2020-2021 class of NCCs - it is a huge honor to work with such an incredible group of leaders!

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year ? My main goals are to represent NCCs, IACURH, and NACURH with the utmost kindness, professionalism and respect, as well as prioritize approachability and transparency within our region, continue to promote inclusive practices and language, and provide all NCCs equal opportunities to be successful. Another one of my goals for the upcoming year is to help build connections and friendships among NCCs through bonding activities, more opportunities for collaboration, and a new mentorship program between new and returning NCCs! I also hope to emphasize leadership development by bringing in guest speakers to chats, discussing transferable skills, and teaching NCCs how to write about this unique role on a resume. Lastly, I plan to serve as a cheerleader to NCCs and recognize all of their accomplishments, not only in their roles but as people and students as well! 13


How are you/have you been involved on your campus? I have been involved on my campus within RHA as a Community Council member, a delegate at multiple conferences, and the 2019-2020 NCC! Within NRHH, I have served as the Director of Public Relations and Recruitment, and I am currently a member of the Recognition, Leadership, OTM Voting, and Inductions Planning committees, as well as the 2020-2021 President! At NAU, I also serve as an Honors College Peer Mentor, the Communications Specialist on the Honors College Steering Committee, a member of the Residential Life Advisory Committee, a member of the Rainbow Coalition, and the President of Hillel, the Jewish organization on campus. I have also held the role of Coordinating Presenter for the NAU Student Leadership Conference two years in a row, presenting about the importance of LGBTQIAP+ allyship within student leadership roles. Lastly, I frequently collaborate with the Office of Inclusion in order to promote their events and initiatives; I was even invited to serve as a Featured Speaker at the Fall 2019 Rainbow Convocation, which is a graduation ceremony for members of the queer community!






In June, every year, we celebrate Pride Month. It is a time for celebration and to be proud of your identity. For many, it is a time that they aren’t able to celebrate. It is a sad reality that so many LGBTQIA+ individuals are faced with hate and exclusion from their own families and close friends. For the past year IACURH has been supporting The Trevor Project through our IAdvocate efforts. In addition to talking about the reasons we chose to support The Trevor Project and the number associated with mental health and LGBTQIA+ identities it is also important to talk about the modern fight for equality from Stonewall to now. The Trevor Project was founded in 1998 in order to provide mental health resources to young LGBTQ individuals. It was started by the producers and directors of the Academy Awardwinning short film TREVOR. On the same night that their groundbreaking film aired on HBO they launched the Trevor Lifeline. A 24 hour national crisis intervention and suicide prevention lifeline for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning youth. It was the first of it’s kind and continues to be there for young LGBTQIA+ individuals. Since then,

Since then, The Trevor Project has launched more services to provide a safe space. TrevorChat is a free internet instant messaging service that provides live help. TrevorText is a confidential and secure text service that provides live help. TrevorSpace is a social networking site for LQBTQ youth and allies, and finally The Trevor Support Center is a resource and FAQ page about LQBTQ+ identities and issues associated with sexual orientation, gender identity, and more.



The Trevor Project, Human Rights Campaign, Rainbow Railroad, and The Matthew Shepard Foundation are just a few examples of organizations that exist to combat hate and create safe spaces for LGBTQIA+ individuals not only in the US but around the world. It is important to remember the struggles that many young LGBTQIA+ people go through. 39% Of LGBTQIA+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people with LGBTQIA+ young people being four times more likely to attempt suicide. In addition to suicide, 71% of LGBTQIA+ youth report discrimination due to either theur sexual orientation or gender identity. The fight for equality is a process, cultural shifts take time and that makes the work of organizations like The Trevor Project even more important and impactful. The modern fight for gay liberation and equal rights was galvanized during the Stonewall Uprising of June 1969. After the NYPD wrongfully raided a gay bar in Lower Manhattan queer people fought back. The uprising was led in large part by Black and Latinx people such as black activist and self described drag queen, Marsha P. Johnson, who worked alongside other queer people of color to provide safe spaces and resources for homeless LGBTQIA+ youth in NYC. The Stonewall Uprising paved the way for the creation of organizations such as the Gay Liberation Front and GLAAD. The movement for LGBTQIA+ equality would not have been what it is without the often overlooked work of Trans and Queer POC from the very beginning.



Since our Regional Leadership Conference at the University of Colorado Boulder last November, we have been working to support The Trevor Project. We have been raising money through the sale of our Pride Pins, working to raise awareness through the use of hashtags like #IAdvocateforLGBTQIA+rights, and members of our region have worked with and attended round table discussions with the NACURH LGBTQIA+ Identity Network. We will continue to work to provide a strong network and resources for our members to continue to advocate for and work towards equality On the first anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising a march was held on Christopher Street passing the Stonewall Inn. This would become an annual event, one that occurs in cities around the world to stand up and be proud. Even though this year we can’t celebrate how we normally would, we should still be proud. Take action to continue to advocate for equality for all. We all deserve to live in a world without hate and without fear.



MEET THE RBD AMBER GORDON Pronouns : She/Her/Hers Position : Regional NRHH Advisor Host institution : University of Utah Favorite Color : Pink Favorite Movie : Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince

Favorite Artist : Weird

Al Yankovic

Why did you choose to run for your position on the board ? I love advising and have really enjoyed my time as a campus advisor over the last several years. I knew I had more I could give to the region and am excited to continue learning and growing as an advisor!

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year ? I hope to assist the RBD in achieving their goals and continue to push for more inclusion in our region. We have been making steps to be more inclusive, and I am excited for the changes and shifts we will see this year.



How are you/have you been involved on your campus? I have been involved with RHA since I was a first year student in college! As a professional, I have served as a campus advisor for RHA and NRHH here in IACURH and for a few years in SAACURH.



BLACK ART MATTERS A selection of Black literature, film, and artists. As well as some educational resources from black authors A longer list is on our website at iacurh.nacurh.org/black-lives-matter

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A Raisin in the Sun By : Lorraine Hansberry Set on Chicago's South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis and matriarch Lena, called Mama.

13th (2016) Directed by : Ava DuVernay "Slavery. Jim Crow. Criminalization. Links in a chain of racial inequality, forged by political and economic motives." - Netflix (Available on Netflix)

How To Be An Anti-Racist by : Dr. Ibram X. Kendi "In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their poisonous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves.

The Invisible Man by : Ralph Ellison Ralph Ellison's nightmare journey across the racial divide tell unparalleled truths about the nature of bigotry and its effects on the minds of both victims and perpetrators, it gives us an entirely new model of what a novel can be.

Redefining Realness by : Janet Mock In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.


If Beale Street Could Talk (2018) Directed By : Barry Jenkins In early 1970s Harlem, wife-to-be Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her fiancé Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he didn't commit.

Do The Right Thing (1989) Directed by : Spike Lee This powerful visual feast combines humor and drama with memorable characters while tracing the course of a single day on a block in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. It's the hottest day of the year, a scorching 24-hour period that will change the lives of its residents forever.

Giovanni's Room by : James Baldwin In the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

The Bluest Eye by : Toni Morrison A powerful examination of our obsession with beauty and conformity, Toni Morrison’s virtuosic first novel asks powerful questions about race, class, and gender with the subtlety and grace that have always characterized her writing.

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by : Maya Angelou Here is a book as joyous and painful, as mysterious and memorable, as childhood itself. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings captures the longing of lonely children, the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right. Maya Angelou’s debut memoir is a modern American classic beloved worldwide.

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The Ascend is a publication of the Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls of NACURH, Inc.

Profile for IACURH PT

The Ascend | June/July 2020  

In this issue : Pride Month in the Intermountain, Black Lives Matter, Looking Ahead and Back with Regional Director Rae Gilmore and former D...

The Ascend | June/July 2020  

In this issue : Pride Month in the Intermountain, Black Lives Matter, Looking Ahead and Back with Regional Director Rae Gilmore and former D...

Profile for iacurh

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