Campus Pride, a national non-profit organization that works to develop and support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities on college campuses across the United States, has ranked the LGBT-friendliness of over 230 American colleges and universities. Twenty-six schools received a five out of five star rating based on their LGBT policies, programs and practices, distinguishing themselves as great choices for LGBT college students. LGBT-friendliness has proven to be an important factor when considering which college or university to attend for many students. Here is a peek at what sets the top five LGBT-friendly schools apart from the rest in terms of their superior LGBT academic life, student life, housing and residence life, counseling and health services, recruitment/retention efforts and institutional support.
University of Oregon
The University of Oregon tops Campus Pride’s list as the number one LGBT-friendly university in the United States. Regularly scheduled movie nights, guest speakers, group discussions and a magnitude of social events sponsored by the three main LGBT organizations at the university have helped cultivate a strong and active LGBT community. LGBT on-campus resources include counseling services and Queer Studies classes. Additionally, the university offers scholarships for students who make significant contributions to the LGBT community and provides residence hall options for LGBT and intersex students.
Ohio State University
Like the University of Oregon, several LGBT student organizations exist at Ohio State University and provide the foundation for LGBT community life. The office that supports the various LGBT groups has helped sponsor events including a party for AIDS awareness and a LGBT and ally cook-out. Angie Wellman, the intercultural specialist for LGBT student initiatives at the university, said that the programming offered through the university’s Multicultural Center tries very hard to meet the needs of LGBT students, according to the school’s newspaper “The Lantern.” Currently, students are working with the university to create a LGBT Living and Learning Community so that future students will have LGBT housing options.
Students and staff constantly initiate programs promoting LGBT outreach, education and community at Stanford University. The Fire Truck House, an on-campus resource and support center, is hang-out place for LGBT students at Stanford. The Feminist Studies major at the university allows students to focus their education on Queer/LGBT studies. In addition to strong institutional support, Stanford also has gender-neutral housing options and gender-neutral restrooms available across campus.
There is a LGBT-friendly atmosphere at Oberlin College, a small college and conservatory in northern Ohio. The school offers a LGBTQ and Sexual Studies major, and the Multicultural Resource Center on-campus makes sure that LGBT events are a part of student life. Annual LGBT programs and events include World AIDS Week, Transgender Day of Remembrance, Transgender Week of Awareness, Lavender Graduation, Drag Ball and Coming Out Week. Additionally, the college is committed to diversity and social justice and has a variety of housing options for students.
University of Maine, Farmington
The Alliance, one of the main LGBT groups at the University of Maine, Farmington, works to promote LGBT awareness and the appreciation of sexual diversity. The organization plans various on-campus events, has offered anti-discrimination resources for educators and has participated at the Boston Campus Pride College Fair for a number of years. Additionally, the president of UMF, Theo Kalikow, is openly gay and spoke at the Campus Pride fair in 2010, demonstrating the strong support of UMF’s administration for LGBT students.