The purpose of this study was to examine the role of discourse and individual identity in defining the group identity of Common Grounds, a student-run coffee shop on the College of Wooster Campus. Using participant observation and a foundation of intersectionality and Social Identity Theory, the study demonstrated that Common Grounds’ identity has shifted over the two decades since its foundation and has gone from an organization with a light religious basis to a strong yet unofficial queer identity, even as its general purpose has remained the same. The strong presence of LGBTQ+ members who both run and visit Common Grounds and the dialogue indicate a naturally formed, new group identity—that in turn may affect the way individuals within my explore their identities.


Bostdorff, Denise


Communication Studies


Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis


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