Being Themselves. Finding Belonging.

As a swimmer, bowler, volleyball player, STEM student, and 30-second Rubik’s Cube solver, Sasha Liu, CAS/BA ’24, is used to taking on challenges. But as Sasha prepared to reveal their nonbinary identity to their swim teammates, they worried about what the reaction might be.

That concern was soon swept away as their teammates welcomed Sasha and embraced their identity. Their teammates learned Sasha’s pronouns, taught them to others, and asked thoughtful, proactive questions on how to address Sasha with respect.

“My experience has been welcoming as a whole. Everybody that I have met, including professors and administrators, have been openly kind and accepting of me. On the team, it's like my second family. I have never had a group of people be so supportive of me, both inside and outside of the sport.”

As an AU student who has found community based on shared love of swimming, volleyball, bowling, and other interests, Sasha has advice for first-year students who are navigating the transition from high school to college.

“Freshman students are all in the same boat. For many, this is probably their first time away from home for more than a week or two, and many of them are far away from home. Don't be shy! Reach out to people on the floor of your dorm or a friend of a friend. There are also so many clubs to join and there's a 99 percent chance that there's a club for whatever niche interest you have! Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and meet new people.”


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