During Caleb Eubanks’s first semester at college, he struggled personally and academically. The advising center emailed him, warning him of a potential loss of scholarship if his grades did not improve.
Now Caleb, a senior journalism major from Monticello, is nearing the end of his college journey. He is on track to graduate in May with his bachelor’s degree.
The transformation from a struggling freshman to becoming a campus leader is due, in part, to becoming involved with SPECTRUM and other campus groups, Caleb said.
This year, Caleb is the vice president of SPECTRUM, a registered student organization that advocates and supports LGBTQ students.
Caleb has been involved with SPECTRUM since the second semester of his freshman year, when he met some people who regularly attended the organization’s meetings.
“Then I found a group of friends that I started hanging out with a lot; come to find out they’re involved with SPECTRUM, and I didn’t know that,” Caleb said. “So I’m like, ‘Okay, I’m going now; I have people I can go with.’ So I went, and I just, I don’t know, I enjoyed it.”
The vice president primarily coordinates events for the group. Among those events are the annual drag show, which was held earlier this semester, and the upcoming Sex on the Lawn and campus pride march events.
Sex on the Lawn was described by Caleb as an “all-inclusive” sex education event, as opposed to the typical Arkansas public school sex education, which only discusses heterosexual sex. The event is scheduled for March 9.
The campus pride march is scheduled for April 13 to coincide with a National Campus Pride Month.
The events are important to Caleb as an officer and member, but he feels it also could be a chance for the campus community at large to learn more about the sexualities, identities and lifestyles that SPECTRUM members represent.
For example, Caleb had the chance to ask the audience at this year’s drag show what their past experiences with drag had been like.
“I even asked a question at the beginning while on stage: ‘How many of y’all have never been to a drag show?” Caleb said. “Over half the audience raised their hand.”
“To me, that’s educating through fun because not everybody has been to a drag show.”
If the audience members hadn’t attended that night, they may have never been exposed to drag as a hobby, and in some cases a profession, that some people participate in.
These events take a lot of planning, and Caleb carries a large amount of that responsibility. As vice president, he is often reaching out to potential speakers and guests for events, assisting the treasurer with budgeting and coordinating publicity materials for SPECTRUM events.
Through SPECTRUM, Caleb has been heavily involved with the Department of Diversity and Inclusion. Exposure to DDI this year has helped boost his interest in working in college student affairs after college, perhaps in an office like DDI or one specializing in LGBTQ matters. However, he isn’t quite sure of his next step yet.