In this week’s Fearless Friday, SURGE would like to feature the wonderful Beau Charles ’17!  

Beau Charles is currently a junior at Gettysburg and is majoring in English while minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Africana Studies. They’re originally from nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania. 

There are few activities and groups on campus that Beau hasn’t had some degree of participation in. One of the most active students around, Beau has found themselves especially active in the programs run by the Center for Public Service. They currently serve as the Student Coordinator for Campus Kitchens, a wonderful organization on campus that takes leftover food from the dining center and other community donors and transforms it into meals for associated programs in the community, such as “Casa Bags” for local migrant families, to name one of many.  

Being involved in CPS has helped Beau focus on specific problems not just at Gettysburg College, but also on a global scale. They use what they learn in the classroom and apply it to their outside duties. By using theories of social justice, backed by historical studies, Beau is able to understand on a deeper level both how grander social structures impact individuals’ lives as well as the contemporary issues facing society as a whole. Constantly thinking outwardly, Beau has a knack for comprehending the big-picture of social justice issues and working in a constructive manner to help resolve such issues as much as they can.   

Besides being a huge part of Campus Kitchens, Beau is currently an editor for SURGE, secretary for the Gettysburg Africana Student Association (GASA), and the founder of the brand-new Queer Peer Mentorship Program (QPMP). QPMP is another critical aspect of Beau’s Gettysburg experience. Beau came to college as a “confident queer kid” but felt an overall lack of confidence among the LGBTQA community at Gettysburg. “Even if they love themselves,” as Beau puts it, “queer kids at Gettysburg still have a lot of questions” and may feel like they have no place to get them answered. Beau decided to start an organization wherein upper-class queer students can apply to be a trained mentor able to serve as a reliable and welcoming resource to incoming queer students, especially those students that want a one-on-one peer resource.  That way, an incoming First-Year who is not quite comfortable with sharing their experience with a large group of people or a faculty member can instead talk casually to a queer upper-class student and gain confidence through their mentorship.  

It’s clear how Beau’s work has been crucial for the bettering of many community members. Through their work providing food for those who need it and providing safe spaces for the LGBTQA community (just to name a few), Beau is a fearless leader who zealously pursues the solutions to social justice issues. When asked their plans post-Gettysburg, Beau definitely has many options. Whether it’s joining the Peace Corps, going into a non-profit organization, attending law school to become a lawyer to advance the rights of sex workers, or going to graduate school for English, Beau will be an invaluable source of confidence, competence, and compassion.  

When asked what made them brave, Beau responded: “I’ve been called Brave Beau before and it was kind of awkward, to be honest. I’m not brave or fearless, if the two are equitable. I’m scared of seaweed and going down slides. But I can play mouthpiece to some basic stuff that apparently still needs to be said.” 

Thanks for all your amazing work, Beau!