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Emerging Student Leadership Program

Since 2014, the LGBT Resource Center’s Emerging Student Leadership Program (ESLP) has been providing an opportunity for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQIA+) students to explore and develop their identities as leaders. Often leadership is viewed as positional and hierarchal. However, some of the best leadership provided in our communities is personal rather than positional and so we ask: How do we queer leadership? What does it mean to lead collectively and collaboratively rather than within a hierarchy? Through weekly meetings, discussions with local queer leaders, and attending a national LGBTQIA leadership conference, ESLP seeks to answer those questions. We welcome any LGBTQIA+ undergraduate student attending the University of Utah during the Spring 2020 semester to apply, regardless of formal leadership history.


What will you do in ESLP?

As part of the 2021 ESLP cohort, students will:

  • Attend the virtual Creating Change Conference from January 28th to 31st. Creating Change is is the foremost political, leadership, and skills-building conference for the LGBTQ social justice movement. This will be an opportunity to be exposed to diverse LGBTQIA+ issues and leadership styles. All costs related to conference travel and participation are paid via ESLP.
  • Meet weekly to engage in discussion and activities centered on community building and leadership development over the course of half a semester.
  • Reflect on how their social identities impact their understanding of leadership and of themselves as leaders in their communities.
  • Learn from and engage with local queer leaders working for change in Salt Lake City and Utah.
  • Explore a diverse array of leadership styles and personifications of queer leadership.

Students participating in the 2021 ESLP cohort will receive:

  • A $300 scholarship from the LGBT Resource Center
  • A copy of Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown, opening keynote speaker at Creating Change
  • An Emering Student Leadership Program journal
  • Smith's and Door Dash gift cards to cover the costs of food during retreats, conference sessions, and program meetings 

Program Requirements

  • Be enrolled as an undergraduate student at the University of Utah.
  • Be able to attend all required program sessions and dates for ESLP. These include:
    • Saturday, January 23, 10am to 2pm (Retreat)
    • January 28-31, Virtual Creating Change Conference
    • Wednesday, February 10, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, February 17, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, February 24, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, March 3, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, March 10, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, March 17, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, March 24, 3-5
    • Wednesday, March 31, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, April 7, 3-5pm
    • Wednesday, April 14, 3-5pm

How to Apply

To be considered for ESLP, complete the online application by Monday, January 18th, 2021. The application will include 3 short essay prompts you will need to answer. The prompts are:

  • Why do you want to participate in the Emerging Student Leadership Program? What do you hope to learn? Do you have any goals you hope to meet?
  • How would your friends describe you?
  • Tell us about a time when you were a part of a team. What was that experience like?

Applicants who are selected for ESLP will be notified no later than Friday, December 18th via email. If you have any questions about ELSP, you may contact Shelby Hearn at

How We Evaluate Applications

Applications for ESLP will be evaluated based on students who have enthusiasm, interests, and skills sets related to the following areas:

  • Ability to commit to all program sessions and related activities 

  • Demonstration of collaborative spirit and desire to engage in community building 

  • Commitment to personal growth and development 

  • Demonstration of critical thinking and self-reflection skills 

I am not LGBTQIA+—can allies be part of ESLP?

Allies who advocate for LGBTQIA+ people in their daily personal and professional lives are welcome in ESLP. Please keep in mind that the focus of ESLP will be the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, intersex, asexual, and other people with marginalized gender, sex, and/or sexual identities in relation to leadership.

Who can I contact if I have questions about ESLP?

If you have any questions about ELSP, you may contact Shelby Hearn at

A Big Thank You to our Supporters!

The Emerging Student Leadership Program is supported by our generous donors, including The B.W. Bastian Foundation and The Parent Fund. Thank you to our supporters! If you have questions about how you can support this leadership experience for students, contact Clare Lemke at

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Last Updated: 5/24/21