Student Club Spotlight: SAGA

Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Association: LGBTQQIAA+ community on campus

The Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Association (SAGA) was started to create a haven and gathering place on campus for anyone who identifies as a member of the LGBTQQIAA+ community at Dakota County Technical College.

The letters in LGBTQQIAA+ stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual, allies plus. SAGA provides support and promotes acceptance at DCTC. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Natalie Shrestha serves as the LGBTQQIAA+ resources contact at DCTC in addition to her duties as the college’s academic and financial aid advisor and principal designated school official (PDSO). Natalie was the former SAGA staff advisor; Erin Manthey, mathematics faculty, is the current SAGA Club Faculty Advisor.

“When I started at DCTC in 2015, the campus had an inactive Gay–Straight Alliance (GSA) Club without a faculty or staff advisor,” she said, “but there was some student interest in the club becoming more active.”

“This world would be a whole lot better if we just made an effort to be less horrible to one another.”

Elliot Page

“The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody.”

Rita Mae Brown

“Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands?”

Ernest Gaines

Because Natalie was interested in working with the LGBTQQIAA+ community at DCTC and she had experience from her previous graduate assistant role in the LGBT Resource Center at St. Cloud State University, she was asked to lead the club.

Natalie reported that students during her first semester as club advisor asked to have the name changed to the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Association, or SAGA, since that name seemed more approachable for a technical college.

“SAGA has always been a low-key place to hang out and talk about what is on your mind,” she said. “Since the club has restarted, we have had peaks and valleys in attendance. I link the peaks to semester starts because SAGA is a great place for students get acclimated to school. Eventually, our students are connecting with their programs and classmates, and their time is devoted to coursework and class-related clubs and organizations.”

LGBTQ+ rainbow flag at EuroPride 2019 | Source: Bojan Cvetanović

SAGA mission: To bring all people of all identities together and create an environment of inclusion and friendship.
Meetings: Currently held virtually. Email Erin Manthey, SAGA faculty advisor, for the link.

Like SAGA on Facebook

LGBTQQIAA+ community resources

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Natalie Shrestha

LGBTQQIAA+ Resources Contact

Natalie Shrestha

Natalie Shrestha has been an academic advisor at Dakota County Technical College since fall 2015. Natalie has a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Higher Education Administration and a Master of Science (M.S.) in College Counseling and Student Development, both degrees from St. Cloud State University. She earned a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration: Psychology from Bemidji State University.

Natalie worked as an academic advisor in South Africa at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She also worked as a graduate student services advisor and interned in the LGBT Resource Center at St. Cloud State.

In 2015, Natalie received the Ally Award from St. Cloud State for her efforts to create a more inclusive university. She enjoys researching better practices for adult learners.

Natalie speaks German and enjoys taking new classes that have nothing to do with her career. She has volunteered as a reader for Living Well Disability Services since 2015.

In her spare time, Natalie enjoys hiking, kayaking, fishing, cross-country skiing, travel and gardening (although her family says you can’t call what she does gardening). “It’s just a creative way to kill plants,” she explained.

Erin Manthey

SAGA Club Faculty Advisor

Erin Manthey

Erin Manthey has been teaching since she was a child when she would make her friends “play school.” Erin has been a mathematics instructor at DCTC since 2010. Connecting with students of varied backgrounds and experiences, making mathematical topics relevant, and “engineering” new lesson ideas are the things that keep her motivated for each day.

Erin holds a B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Stout and a B.S. in Applied Math from Metropolitan State University. More recently, she earned her M.S. in Education with emphasis in Mathematics from Southwest Minnesota State University.

When she’s not teaching, Erin is either running, cooking or attempting to be musical.

Learn more about the Sexuality and Gender Acceptance Association (SAGA) at DCTC by contacting:

Natalie Shrestha
LGBTQQIAA+ Resources Contact
Academic and Financial Aid Advisor

Erin Manthey
SAGA Club Faculty Advisor
Adjunct Mathematics Faculty