Two students sit in front of a sign promoting the Compass student organization.

Compass provides a place to belong

Monday, June 24, 2024


Students lean forward in their seats, listening intently as professionals share their stories of finding belonging in the workforce. During the Q&A, students wonder what their life will look like outside of college and how their identities will factor into their post-grad life. This DEI Round Table, hosted in collaboration with Delta Sigma Pi, is one of many Compass events that focus on building a community and having conversations around belonging.

Compass is a business-focused LGBTQ+ undergraduate student organization at the Carlson School of Management. It serves as a space not only to find a community, but to also develop professional skills.

“Compass is a friendly, inviting community of people,” said Zach Mester, ‘24 BSB. “But beyond that, it’s a great opportunity to connect with alumni and other queer individuals in the workplace.”

This year, Mester and Sofie Edevold, ‘25 BSB, have served as the Co-Executive Directors of Compass.

“Compass serves as a space to build yourself professionally and to find a community that’s a little harder to reach at the Carlson School,” said Edevold.

Compass was an active organization before COVID-19, but the pandemic set them back. This year, Mester and Edevold have been focused on rebuilding and setting up for future success.

“We have done a lot of work this year,” said Mester. “Recruitment and funding have been big tasks, but we have made progress so that, going forwards, future years should be a lot smoother.”

Those recruitment efforts have introduced many new students to the organization. Mary Kate Herber, ’26 BSB, joined at the beginning of 2024 after seeing a flier in Hanson Hall.

“It’s great to have this space for people with common backgrounds,” said Herber. “I don’t feel judged at Compass. It’s a place for people similar to me who want to get more involved at the Carlson School.”

Compass addresses challenges that LGBTQ+ students may face in the workplace, including the divide between professionalism and different aspects of their identity. By addressing these challenges, Compass helps students feel comfortable with their identity while being able to pursue their career goals.

“A lot of times it's hard to be queer and to bring up that side of your identity in a professional setting,” said Mester. “Compass helps students find a community while they are in school so that they know they are not alone in facing challenges.”

Professional development is a large focus of Compass. The organization hosts events focused on preparing students for the workforce.

“I have been able to learn a lot about different industries, people, and groups through Compass,” said Nick Drewes, ‘25 BSB. “Compass provides opportunities for students who are traditionally more excluded from common activities in the business world, giving them a step up in regards to industry knowledge.”

At their kickoff event for the Spring 2024 semester, Compass provided students the opportunity to have their resumes and LinkedIn profiles reviewed. They also shared early career advice to prepare students for the job search. This year, they collaborated with Mossier, an LGBTQ employment equity consultancy founded by Nick Alm, '18 BSB, to collect and present data on what LGBTQ+ Gen Z employees are looking for in a workplace.

Collaborations with other organizations are another focus of Compass. Some of their collaborations this year included a pumpkin painting event with Women in Business and a nature hike with Net Impact.

“Compass is a great place to find a sense of community at the Carlson School,” said Edevold. “Compass can help students find others with shared interests and identities. We are very open and welcoming to anyone.”

Want to get involved with Compass? Follow them on Instagram @compassug to stay updated!