Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Jason C. Garvey


In this critical, hermeneutic phenomenological study (Gadamer, 2012; van Manen, 2016; Weiss et al., 2020), I met with 13 nonbinary Black, Indigenous, and/or people of color (BIPOC) collegian co-investigators multiple times to discuss their freedom dreams for utopia (Kelley, 2002/2022; Muñoz, 2009). Beginning with individual genuine conversations (n = 13), a series of 3 gatherings (n = 10), and a final round of genuine conversations (n = 10), co-researchers explored their visions for better worlds by refusing the (il)logics of oppressive contexts, instead imagining liberatory futures free from capitalist exploitation, white supremacy, cisheteropatriarchy, homonormativity and transnormativity, and binarism. In the first article of this dissertation, I explore nonbinary BIPOC students’ joy and euphoria, highlighting glimmers of self-love, congruency, the people who know and love us, the broader queer and trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC) community, and history. For the second article, I reveal nonbinary BIPOC students’ visions for utopia as through their visualizations, utopian feelings, abolition, and inspirations for utopia. In the third article, I explore nonbinary BIPOC college student development, uncovering the impact of freedom dreaming, imagining a world without oppression, building community, ongoing reflection, and integrating freedom dreaming as a daily praxis. In the final chapter, I offer implications for student affairs professionals, including how to integrate joy as a student success outcome and encourage QTBIPOC students to build capacity to dream of better worlds and refuse current dystopias.



Number of Pages

280 p.

Available for download on Sunday, April 12, 2026