The OutCrowd is Syracuse University’s only student-run LGBTQIA+ publication. In this personal essay, editor in chief Patrick Linehan ’21 reflects on his journey and the creative venture to bring it back to life. Patrick is a Global Media Fellow at the Blackstone LaunchPad & Techstars at Syracuse University. Read a great behind the scenes story about The OutCrowd in the Daily Orange here. Follow The OutCrowd on Instagram. If you would like to join The OutCrowd, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This September, I was asked to participate in a Zoom call with a SEM 100 class for first year students.
While I was on the call, the professor of the class, Professor Chessher, mentioned that Syracuse University’s only LGBTQIA+ magazine, The OutCrowd, was about to lose its status as a registered student organization. My ears perked up when I heard this. Just four months prior, I had sat in the front seat of my mom’s Honda Odyssey and told her that I am gay.
As I thought about the queer community that had welcomed me, I felt no greater calling than to give us a voice and a publication to rally around.
One of the first-year students in that class, Brogan Thomas, felt the same, so we joined forces.
We were up against the clock. We had just two weeks to recruit, complete trainings and register the magazine once again. We reregistered with a day to spare.
It was a learning curve. I have always worked mostly independently, seeking out projects and stories that interested me. As a freelancer, I had never built something that other people can take ownership of. The OutCrowd has become that thing. Two months later Brogan and I have recruited a 40-person staff of all different sexual, gender, racial, ethnic, and ability identities. It is a collective of queer writers, photographers, videographers, designers and social media experts. Some are new to this university others have been around for years. They hail from several schools and colleges. Our queerness connects us all, and we have a ton of fun. We are always recruiting more people to join in on the party.
Together, we are bringing The OutCrowd back to life.
This year we are producing a magazine to be published in March highlighting the queer stories of the last tumultuous year. We will tell stories of joy, sorrow, and growth from all corners of this extremely diverse community. And we are going to do it mostly virtually.
Shutout from the school’s studios, we are planning photoshoots in Thornden Park and in random corners of academic buildings. We are producing videos and designing a brand around inclusivity and energy.
Building community during an international pandemic had been challenging. One of our editors lives in South Korea in a time zone over 12 hours ahead Syracuse. Finding times to meet can prove challenging and getting to know dozens of new people through a webcam take creativity and ingenuity.
We always start our meetings with personal updates, answering questions like, “What was the best thing that you did this week,” or “What’s one thing about you that you want the group to know?” Starting with personal updates before getting into a meeting’s agenda can help the group get to know each other outside of work.
And creating those connections is the most important part to me. When I came back to campus this year, I realized that I wanted to leave a legacy. I wanted to impact this university and leave something behind that is sustainable. I want to make sure that through diligent leadership The OutCrowd never gets cast to the sidelines ever again.
I want to make sure that the OutCrowd is back in.
Story by Patrick Linehan ‘21, LaunchPad Global Fellow.