“I quickly became a regular visitor to the diversity and inclusion office, discussing issues in society and on this campus.”
Zoey Peach ’16 didn’t waste any time finding ways to contribute after she arrived on campus. By the end of her first term at Transylvania, she was elected as the Student Government Association's newly created diversity and inclusion liaison. That came as no surprise.
“I pushed for the creation of this position as I looked into policy solutions and diversity and inclusion issues on campus. Discussions of these issues started conversations within the Student Government Association (SGA), which quickly spread throughout the university. Discussions led to action: SGA passed a resolution that I wrote reaffirming the student body's commitment to diversity. Then we worked with faculty and staff to set policies to make the campus more inclusive of trans persons. I talked with students about my experiences and how many other students may have experienced the same thing.”
Peach’s activism extends beyond campus. She is also co-chair of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network's Bluegrass chapter. “I am very excited about making K-12 schools throughout Central Kentucky more inclusive for LGBTQ identified students.”
Peach has not always been so confident about her ability to address these issues. She endured relentless bullying and harassment in high school and found it difficult to stay motivated as a student. When the school’s administration eventually took steps to stop the bullying, Peach was inspired to start working earnestly on creating a more inclusive society.
“By my senior year of high school, when I was going through the college search process, I became further empowered. I was invited to the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network's Safe Schools Advocacy Summit. My time there led me to become the advocate I am today.”
Shortly after she arrived at Transylvania, Peach received an invitation from Vice President Joe Biden and Jill Biden to attend a policy roundtable and reception in Washington, D.C., honoring her as a member of the next generation of the nation's LGBT leaders. It appears the opportunities to share her passion for an inclusive society are just beginning.
So how did Peach choose Transylvania as a place where she could both settle in and make a difference? Peach’s brother, a 2006 graduate, lobbied hard for her to attend his alma mater. When Peach visited campus, she found the professors “brilliant” and the campus welcoming. She has discovered that she loves lectures and is a regular at the Creative Intelligence Series, which features luminaries who are breaking barriers in their fields.
“Every lecture provides me an opportunity to learn something, whether it’s concerning diversity and inclusion issues or economics. Within the classroom, I find myself connecting content across all my classes, and seeing their connections to diversity and inclusion.”
And if she’s not in class or in the lecture hall, few students will have trouble finding Peach on campus. “My door in Clay Hall is legendary for the many rainbow stickers and decals, which is quite a surprise to anyone walking down the hall.”
Transylvania University admits students regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, national origin, or any other classification protected by federal or state law or local ordinance.