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It is hard to fathom that AnnaMarie Seiler has only been at Lasell for two years. Her presence on campus - as the president of Lasell Pride, resident assistant, Lasell Alternate Break trip leader, and senior intercultural program coordinator in the Intercultural Center and Commuter Lounge (IC3) - is a powerful force and motivating example of how it is never too late to jump in. The dual psychology and English major transferred from Mount Ida College in 2018 and immediately partnered with Lasell peers and faculty to broaden activities for LGBTQ+ community members and allies. And she now holds an internship at the Boston Alliance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth (BAGLY). Time to slow down? Not for this senior.

How did you get involved with Lasell Pride?
I first joined to find other queer people on campus. I saw so much potential. I'm the kind of person who likes to make things the best they possibly can be, and my work over the past year reflects that - we've revolutionized the group. For example, a campus tradition at Mount Ida was its annual drag show. We brought it to Lasell and its reception was so much better than we ever could have imagined.

What has been most challenging about building that presence?
We're trying really hard to educate the general community. There is a lot of stigma about attending Pride meetings, so we are trying to create an outlet on campus for students of all gender identities and backgrounds through a variety of events. I grew up in Maine with no real queer idols, other than Ellen DeGeneres or other famous figures that I couldn't directly connect with. I want to be that person and create a community like that for others.

How do those challenges compare to your work at BAGLY?
I knew I wanted to get out of my comfort zone when I applied. The experience has opened my eyes to a lot of things that I thought I already understood. I thought I was pretty well-versed in queer lingo, in navigating the T, and in walking down the street and encountering people from different backgrounds and health levels. The exposure to city life, in addition to the internship itself, has expanded by understanding of the world. At BAGLY itself, I'm inspired by how inclusive and diverse it is. It's the same feeling I got when I came to Lasell for the first time - that this was a safe space for emotional and spiritual growth. 

Tell me more about your involvement with Lasell Alternate Breaks (LABs). 
Last year, I went on a trip to Boise, Idaho, that was focused on hunger and homelessness. I don't know that I will ever again have such a transformative experience in such a short amount of time. This year I'll be co-leading a trip on the same issues. I want our participants to feel brave enough to challenge themselves in new ways. When it is done right, there can still be a sense of safety in stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Through all of these experiences, what is your motivation?
I grew up playing competitive soccer, and the motivation there really came from wanting to not fall behind. Since I've come to Lasell, my mindset has shifted from competitive to collaborative. The payoff for my mental health and productivity is huge when I work with others, rather than trying to match their energy or outdo them. My experiences at Lasell have taught me what fulfillment really means.

Photo by Rebecca LeBlanc '20