For Pride Month, we’re featuring students who are making an impact on campus and beyond. This week, meet Harrison Lloyd, an international business, economics and accounting major from Pflugerville, Texas. As the president of Pride in Business and through his other involvements, Harrison is creating inclusive spaces on campus.
You talk about being passionate about building inclusive environments for people to connect with others. Has this been something you’ve always been passionate about or is there a particular experience that has inspired that passion even more?
Thanks for the great question. My passion for building inclusive environments for people to connect with others began after leaving high school and starting college. Growing up in Pflugerville, Texas (a suburb of Austin) allowed me to go to a pretty inclusive and diverse high school. I did not feel pressured to change myself to feel welcome during classes or in my extracurriculars. I took for granted how comfortable I was in my environment and naturally expected that comfortableness to continue in college. That perspective shifted a bit when I came to Nebraska as a College of Business (CoB) student.
Early on, the lack of representation of the LGBTQ+ community in the CoB was apparent. I felt singled out by my queerness and took comfort in my elective courses to find visibility. It did not surprise me when friends and classmates switched majors to find community and feel more welcomed. My insecurities were heightened by the less than inclusive space I was in, leading me to question my place in the CoB. Would people take me seriously in a business setting? Would I be passed for promotions for being gay and a part of the LGBTQ+ community? Will I have to hide an aspect of my life in future work environments?
This uncertainty led me to join in the efforts to form Pride in Business and serve on the exec team as Treasurer for the 2020–2021 academic year. Over the summer, when I found out that the RSO was in the creation process, I felt relief. I was going to be a part of an inclusive community that made me feel like I belonged. I am passionate about building inclusive communities because of the positive impact they have had on me. Having representation and opportunities to find community in inclusive spaces allows students to focus on their academics and hopefully lessens the doubts of whether or not they belong.
Talk about the goal of UNL Pride in Business.
When I first joined Pride in Business, I wanted to have a community in the CoB where I was comfortable being myself. That sentiment is the basis for Pride in Business and helps determine our objectives. Creating representation, building an inclusive community, and uplifting voices are the pillars of Pride in Business. Those pillars assist our goal of making students feel welcome.
Talk more about the importance of engaging with people who have different experiences or backgrounds than you.
The most fulfilling part of my college experience has been the friendships I’ve made with the people at UNL. Students from across the U.S. and the world have shared their experiences with me, and I have shared mine. They have opened my eyes to different perspectives and ways of living while strengthening my conviction on how important inclusive communities are. If people are uncomfortable in their environments, it is harder to show up genuinely and learn from each other. The more people I meet, the easier it becomes to engage with others authentically and openly.
How do your involvements on campus allow you to make an impact?
My involvements allow me to contribute towards building inclusive spaces and making students feel less alone. By being a part of organizations like Pride in Business and Business International Student Association (BISA) I can welcome other students that are searching for a sense of belonging. Additionally, we are able to amplify voices by coming together as an organization to enact the change we want to see on campus.
Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?
That’s a difficult question! Long term, I want to find fulfillment in my work, relationships and the things I pursue. I hope to continue to incorporate community building throughout my life however that may look. I would also like to leave places better and more inclusive than I found them.
My short-term and less ambiguous goals include traveling abroad, learning Spanish and having pet cows.
What or who inspires/motivates you?
This is the part of the Q&A where I get to gush at all the incredible people that have supported and motivated me to achieve more while being my authentic self.
Mikki Sandin, the International Business and Inclusion Coordinator for the CoB, has been a part of my college experience since freshman year. She was one of the first faculty members to make me feel welcome on campus. Her dedication to students, particularly her advocacy for international students and creating inclusive spaces, has inspired me and my efforts to create inclusive communities. Without her, I’m not sure I would have stayed a student in the College of Business.
Jasie Beam and Kim Smith, both advisors to Pride in Business, have also significantly impacted my sense of belonging. Their initiative and dedication to building inclusive spaces have allowed me to grow as a leader and feel comfortable being myself. Without them, I wouldn’t have the platform to help other students find inclusive communities and feel welcome in the CoB.
The current and past members of the exec teams on Pride in Business/BISA motivate me to do more. Their great ideas, collaborative efforts and pursuit of inclusion inspire me and helps fulfill my own goals of creating communities on campus.
Lastly, I’m inspired by my parents. They gave me the tools necessary to be successful in life and unconditional love. They have always encouraged me in my academic and personal pursuits and continue to be a great advocator for me.
What is your advice to other Huskers looking to make an impact?
Show up! I’m still amazed by the opportunities I’ve had because I decided to show up to an event on campus or go to the informational meeting with an advisor. It is easy to become overwhelmed when trying to figure out where to start. It can be as simple as just showing up.
I would also encourage Huskers to be “Nebraska nice.” Introduce yourself to your classmates, make others feel comfortable and be welcoming to all. Not all impacts have to be large-scale to be meaningful.