Riley Jelenick, a student affairs leader with experience developing inclusive, campus-wide LGBTQ+ outreach and education at Catholic universities, is the new associate director of Georgetown’s LGBTQ Resource Center. The center, which opened in 2008, was the first of its kind at a Catholic, Jesuit institution in the country.
Guided by the Jesuit tradition of caring for others and promoting human dignity, the center works to foster a more welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ students across the entire Georgetown community. Jelenick will lead the Center’s educational programming; foster greater inclusion, support, and knowledge at Georgetown around LGBTQ+ identity; and create a community of belonging among current students and alumni.
“I’m here to serve all students regardless of gender and sexuality,” Jelenick said in a recent Q&A. “My job as a professional and also personally is to ensure that all students succeed and walk across the stage at the end of their time at Georgetown.”
Jelenick received his masters in higher education student affairs and his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Carolina University. Before joining Georgetown, he served as the LGBTQ+ student services coordinator at the University of Dayton, a Catholic university in Ohio, where he created and implemented university-wide educational programming on topics such as sexual orientation, gender identity, intersectionality, and inclusive language. He also expanded their ally workshops, in which he invited students to share their stories and shared his own story of when he was a transgender college student looking for resources and support.
“I’ve often opened up about my story as a young trans student navigating the world and systems that were not made for me,” he said. “I try to give back to other young queer students like myself who didn’t know there was a human there to support them, who didn’t know that they could feel comfortable as their whole self, exist, and belong.”