Two graduate students initiate ISU chapter of One Iowa

Madisun Vangundy

One Iowa, the state’s largest LGBT activist organization is starting a chapter at Iowa State. Anna Slavina and Izzy Tenbrook, both graduate students in psychology, are the founders of the chapter. 

Slavina said she started this chapter at Iowa State because she wanted to get involved in activism. She googled LGBT activism in Iowa and the first link that popped up was One Iowa. 

Slavina said she saw a ‘Get Engaged on Campus’ option, which led to the ISU chapter.

One Iowa works toward full equality for LGBT individuals through grassroots efforts and education, according to One Iowa’s website.

One Iowa has about 32,000 supporters, which includes university chapters.

Tenbrook said it’s their mission to help overcome laws and policies that they see as unjust.

Formed in 2005, One Iowa was created “to make sure that same gender marriage and same sex marriage was something that could happen in Iowa,” said Donna Red Wing, executive director for One Iowa.

One Iowa has participated in advocating for recent civil rights legislation that protects the LGBT community against employment and housing discrimination, anti-bullying policies in Iowa’s schools and defeating anti-marriage legislation, according to their web page.

“Almost every state has a statewide organization that does education and advocacy,” said Wing.

The first thing Slavina and Tenbrook did to start the chapter was draft a constitution.

Slavina said the constitution outlines the inner workings of their organization, such as how elections will go, officer positions and what constitutes membership.

“This coming week we’re meeting with a member of the faculty as well as a staff member at ISU to find an advisor,” Slavina said.

Next, they will meet with John Taylor, student organizations coordinator, and establish the intent of their organization. After their chapter gets credited and the student organization board approves them, they can start operating One Iowa as an organization.

Slavina said they plan to recruit more members once their organization is officially recognized by Iowa State, by attending recruitment events for clubs.

Tenbrook said their chapter’s goals for next year will depend on what the current issues and needs are.

“We’re kind of serving as a link between the main organization, One Iowa, and the ISU community,” Slavina said.

Both Slavaina and Tenbrook said they’re looking forward to making new connections and starting the chapter.

“I’m excited about the potential for change,” Slavina said. “It has to start somewhere.”

One Iowa as a whole also has its own goals.

“We certainly have legislation that protects us, but now the job is about hearts and minds,” Wing said. “It’s about helping people understand who we are.”