Cameron Kantner

Cameron Kantner didn't know it at the time, but transferring to a larger school helped him find his calling.

Born and raised in Carmel, Ind., Cameron redefined what it meant to be an active high school student. He was on the swim team, a member of show choir, and in National Honors Society—all at a school with more than 5,000 students. So when it came time to select a college, Cameron opted for a small school that could provide a more intimate experience.

A year later, Cameron transferred to IU and quickly found a home in the Willkie Residence Center, where he joined the Willkie Judicial Board. He also got a job at Starbucks on Indiana Avenue—a stone's throw from the heart of the Bloomington campus. They were perfect roles for the budding counselor.

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When I first came to IU, I transferred, so I knew a lot of my friends were already living off campus or were involved in other organizations, such as Greek life, so they had other places to live.

I felt a little isolated when I moved here; I immediately started trying to make connections with others, getting involved, getting a job.

I am really enjoying and loving my counseling internship at the GLBT office on campus. I really enjoy working with people, I love talking with people. I want to be a counselor, I want to listen to what you have to say, and then, you know, ask some good questions, and make you feel that someone cares and someone is there to listen and provide support when you need it.

I think I've grown tremendously in this past year in my counseling role. I have listened to others perspectives - and sometimes when they maybe feel marginalized for their sexuality, for how they identify- I think that, from that I've been able to play more an activist role to get myself knowledgeable about certain topics and then be able to create an environment where others feel accepted, and feel included.

I think sometimes at a big University it is easy to feel lost, so when you do feel included it makes it feel smaller, it makes it feel more inclusive, and now you have a real sense of purpose.

I really enjoy working with people. I love talking to people. I want to listen to what you have to say.

In Cameron's senior year, he and a fellow Gender Studies student conducted research on bathroom stall graffiti related to sexual assault and other social issues. That experience served as the foundation for his role as the counseling intern at Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services.

One of the keys to his job is developing a rapport with students in order to better understand their unique perspectives and experiences. This process is made easier by the secure environment created by the GLBT house, which strives to make all visitors feel safe and valued.

From there, Cameron listens.

By listening, I can help each student develop goals and work through issues that will help them lead more fulfilled lives.

Going forward, Cameron will continue to work to create environments on the IU campus where students—no matter their sexuality or how they identify—can feel accepted and included. This will not only make IU a more inclusive campus but also give marginalized students a greater sense of purpose.