Positive Space

Positive Space

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The Positive Space Award

The Positive Space Award exists to recognize students who provide exceptional service to the Queen’s Community in the area of sexual and gender diversity, and shall be awarded to one or more students each year. Check out its terms of reference and the amazing contributions of past recipients below!

Terms of Reference


Any Queen’s student at the undergraduate or graduate level will be eligible to be named a recipient of the Positive Space Award.

Being named a recipient of the Positive Space Award is a tribute to a student’s valuable and distinguished support for sexual and gender diversity at Queen’s. Such support may be confined to a single faculty, department, service, or social organization at Queen’s, or it may take the form of a significant contribution over a wide range of activities. For instance, founding or providing exceptional leadership to a group or club (example:  re-starting a queer issues discussion group on campus), founding or renewing a service that fills a gap on campus (examples:  the establishment of the “Positive Space hours” at the Law School, establishment of the Chipped Off collective), cumulative service with various groups over time (example: participating in several groups, such as Positive Space, EQuIP, Levanna, Reelout, Queerientation, Queen’s Pride, Kingston Pride, etc., including in a leadership role in one or more) , inspiring or initiating positive change for the University (example: leading a queer-issues-related policy change initiative). Other examples of appropriate activities can be found in the descriptions of the contributions made by those who were recipients between 2008 and 2013 of the OPIRG Positive Space Award.

The number of recipients to be named each year will be determined by the Selection Committee, with the focus on truly outstanding contributions. It is understood that holding a particular office or position will not automatically qualify anyone for inclusion, nor will informal and “unofficial” activities be excluded from consideration.

Selection Committee Composition and Mandate

The selection committee will be a subcommittee of the Positive Steering Committee and shall include a minimum of 4 members, one of whom shall be a non-voting chair (and will preferably be the Chair of the Steering Committee). The Selection Committee shall be composed so as to account for any personal conflicts of interest.

The selection committee will undertake to establish a thorough understanding of all relevant campus organizations and activities so as to establish its ability to make informed selections.

Selection Process

The committee will assess candidates who have been nominated by two members of the Queen’s community, or self-nominated with one nominator, assessed upon their contribution to sexual and gender diversity at Queen’s.

Nominations may be generated by the Positive Space Steering Committee or submitted by external community members to the Steering Committee for consideration. Externally generated nomination packages must be submitted to the Human Rights Office via print or digitally by email. Packages must include two to three letters of recommendation for each nominee.

If the selection committee feels the need of additional information, they may contact the sponsors to request additional information. Recipients of the award shall be decided by a unanimous vote in favour. Nominations are to be emailed to posspace@queensu.ca.

The Positive Space Award Annual Gift

Each year, recipients of the Positive Space Award shall decide on a campus service, group, or initiative that will receive a monetary gift on their behalf. This gift may be split among multiple services, groups, or initiatives should the recipients choose. Each recipient will have a free choice of a service, group, or initiative to receive funding on their behalf, and a suggested list will be provided for their consideration.

Award Presentation

There will be an awards reception where the recipients will be announced. This event will be a collaborative endeavor and will be supported and presented by the SGPS’s Equity Commissioner, Positive Space, EQUIP, and OPIRG.

Nomination Process

The Positive Space Award is presented to a full-time Queen’s University undergraduate or graduate student who has demonstrated leadership in the Queen’s and/or Kingston community in promoting the recognition and celebration of sexual and gender diversity.

Any member of the Queen’s community may nominate a student for this award. To nominate someone, send an e-mail with the Subject “Nomination” to posspace@queensu.ca, including the following information:

  • Your name, your program/department, and your contact information (phone number and/or e-mail address);
  • Your nominee’s name, your nominee's program, and your nominee's contact information (phone number and/or e-mail address), and whether your nominee is a graduate or undergraduate student;
  • The name, program/department, and contact information of at least one other person willing to serve as a reference on behalf of your nominee;
  • A description of why you think your nominee should receive the Positive Space Award, including some of the LGBTQ activities in which this person engages and how the person has shown leadership in promoting the recognition and celebration of sexual and gender diversity.

Past Recipients

Dan Vena (2013)

Portrait of Dan Vena.

An MA student in Gender Studies, Dan uses his training in the dramatic arts and his passion for social justice to raise awareness of transgender issues. Along with numerous lectures, he performed a monologue in the campus production Down There that challenged transphobic cultural attitudes. In collaboration with Queen’s Drama Association, he co-founded Kingston’s only queer theatre collective and wrote and staged a play to critical acclaim. Dan is also the co-founder of "Men who Like Feminism," a group promoting diverse understandings of masculinity, and he led several workshops at Ontario universities geared towards empowering male students to combat misogynistic cultural attitudes.

Nominees 2013: Laura Hughes, Jessica Sinclair, Dan Vena, Dana Wesley

Beckham Ronaghan (2012)

Portrait of Beckham Ronaghan.

A Gender Studies major, Beckham worked with his Department’s Curriculum Review Committee to address a need for more trans scholarship  and was a member of the Education on Queer Issues Project (EQuIP) all four years at Queen’s. In 2012, he served as one of the directors of a revised and expanded version of The Vagina Monologues, called Down There, exploring issues of sexuality, gender identity, and sexual violence. For several years a facilitator for the Positive Space Program’s Information Sessions as well as a residence don, Beckham recognized a need to provide facilitated discussion on gender and sexuality within the residences at Queen’s and developed and trained facilitators for the THINQ discussion workshops. A contributor to Outwrite: A Queer Review, Beck also spends a week each summer as a camp counsellor at Ten Oaks, outside of Ottawa, a camp for LGBTQ children.

Nominees 2012: Jaclyn Greenberg, Dhivia Joseph, Mason Lam, Geneviève Rochon-Terry, Beckham Ronaghan, Caleb Seguin, Jessica Sinclair

Kym Nacita (2011)

Portrait of Kym Nacita.

A graduate student in the MA program in Geography,  Kym co-founded CFRC’s Bash Back radio program and served as co-host. She also co-founded QuIPOC (Queer Indigenous and People of Colour), served as the Equity Coordinator for QCSA (Queer Graduate Students Association), and as a member of the Levana Gender Advocacy Centre. Also a leader in QCRED (Queen’s Coalition for Racial and Ethnic Diversity), EQuIP (Education on Queer Issues Project), and OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group), Kym was noted for “actively challenging existing institutions in positive ways and creating her own spaces, media, and communities, while encouraging others to do the same.”

Nominees 2011: Fraser MacPherson, Kym Nacita, TK Pritchard

Anna Fischer and Christina Clare (2010)

Portrait of Anna Fischer and Christina Clare.

An undergraduate Gender Studies major, Anna Fischer chaired OutWrite, A Queer Review; EQuIP (Education on Queer Issues Project); and QPP (Queen’s Pride Week), which she co-created with Christina Clare. EQuIP, Committee on Gender, Positive Space, Gender Bender, Reelout, and OutWrite are just a few of the groups in which geography undergraduate Christina has participated. The two have also performed together musically at various queer events.

“The combined work on this campus of Christina Clare and Anna Fischer demonstrates true leadership in every sense of the word. It is our belief that these two students should be equally recognized for their leadership and outstanding involvement in promoting and celebrating sexual and gender diversity on the Queen's campus--and beyond.” 

Nominess 2010:  Christina Clare, Caitlyn Clark, Anna Fischer, Ben Leviton, Marney McDiarmid, Allison Maier

Molle Dorst (2009)

Portrait of Molle Dorst.

Molle Dorst was a Women’s Studies (now Gender Studies) undergraduate who served as co-chair of OutWrite, the queer literary anthology at Queen’s. A Positive Space participant, Molle was also active with the Sexual Health Resource Centre and the Education on Queer Issues Project. She produced The Vagina Monologues, and she was chair of the Women’s Empowerment Committee. Along with her work in Women’s Studies, she took additional courses through University of Toronto on queer issues and trans identities, and when at home in Toronto she worked with local high schools to educate teens on Queer identities. Molle’s volunteerism was described as “a celebration of identity through artistic expression.”

Nominees 2009: Karen Blair, Christina Clare, Shannon Coyle, Emma Daughton, Molle Dorst, Kat Heinzman, Jason Shearer