Group thinker: Myla Green
Green, who helped rejuvenate the Pride Alliance, describes herself as a "humanist."
Myla Green’s application to attend Illinois Wesleyan was notable for what it contained
but also for what it was missing: grades.
A graduate of Sudbury Valley School in Framingham, Mass., a student-run school that
calls itself a “democratic community,” Green had never even taken an exam before coming
to Illinois Wesleyan. “The only tests I’d ever taken were the SAT and the driver’s
test,” she says. With no high school transcript and only her SAT scores in hand, Green
applied to universities all over the country but eventually chose Illinois Wesleyan.
“I liked the small class sizes and personalized attention from professors,” she says.
Green’s involvements on campus and beyond were heavily influenced by the friends she
made during first-year orientation, she says. She and her friends immediately decided
to reestablish Pride Alliance, a student-run organization that works to ensure that
all students have equal rights and privileges regardless of sexual orientation or
Green applauds her classmates' achievements at this year's commencement in May. (Marc
“We’ve put so much work into Pride, since literally before classes started as freshmen,”
says Green, who served two terms as the group’s president. “I really want it to exist
after I’m gone.” She expects it to, noting increased interest in the group among underclassmen.
The organization, which meets weekly, sponsors letter-writing campaigns to politicians
about gay rights and organizes events such as the annual Masquerade Ball that raise
funds for the McLean County AIDS Task Force and other groups. Pride Alliance also
brings speakers to campus like Kate Bornstein, a transgender author, playwright, performance
artist, and gender theorist. Bornstein’s address attracted a standing-room-only crowd
to the Hansen Student Center. “It was amazing that so many people were interested
to hear her speak,” says Green, who recalls the experience as one of her most memorable
During her sophomore year, Green declared her major in Women’s Studies. “Everything
just made sense” about the decision, she says, since it encompassed her interest in
gender studies. While keenly interested in issues involving gay and women’s rights,
Green is more generally concerned with human rights on all political, social, and
economic fronts. “I consider myself a humanist,” she says.
During her junior year, Green studied abroad at Oxford University’s Pembroke College
as part of a highly selective program that has admitted Illinois Wesleyan students
since 1997. She confesses she was “really scared” before leaving, anticipating that
Pembroke’s rigorous academic atmosphere would be a challenge — one that she now feels
grateful to have experienced. “We’re so lucky that Minor Myers set up this program,”
she says, referring to Illinois Wesleyan’s late president.
Upon her return to Bloomington this year, Green got involved again with Pride Alliance
and took up an internship with the McLean County AIDS Task Force, in addition to her
work-study job as a desk aide in Martin Hall, one of IWU’s newer residence halls.
Her work through Pride Alliance earned her a 2007 Acorn Equality Fund Scholarship
for her advocacy and volunteerism in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
After graduating, Green will travel to India on a fellowship grant to volunteer for
a non-governmental organization.
Reflecting back on her years at Illinois Wesleyan, she feels satisfaction that she
was able to make a difference. “I think, at a school like this, someone like me can
find a group and do something with it,” she says.