Campus Pride and GLSEN host hundreds of students and 50 colleges for inaugural LGBTQ-friendly online college fair.
Hundreds of students will meet with representatives from 50 colleges today during the first-ever online college fair specifically focused on helping lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning (LGBTQ) and ally students find colleges and universities that are inclusive and supportive.
Hosted by Campus Pride and GLSEN, with support from Toyota, the online fair allows students to meet virtually with representatives from colleges, universities and scholarship funds to talk about issues of particular interest to LGBTQ students, including discrimination policies, gender-neutral housing and access to LGBTQ-focused student organizations.
As part of the online fair, Campus Pride and GLSEN also will host Twitter chats focused on finding an LGBTQ-friendly campus, financial aid and scholarships, and tips for applying and making the most of the first year on campus. Using the hashtag #LGBTQcollege411, students are able to ask recruiters, advisors and current college students for advice on everything from filling out financial aid forms to which clubs to join on campus.
(Next page: Why it’s important to support LGBTQ-specific college searches)
“Despite the significant strides colleges and universities have made in recent years to be more inclusive and supportive of LGBTQ students, many are still unwelcome environments or are located in communities that are,” said Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer. “Despite this and the negative experiences many LGBTQ students encounter in high school, the majority still want to pursue higher education. We have to ensure that they all have access to the colleges and universities that will be most welcoming to them.”
“LGBTQ students deciding on a college or university have to contend with a variety of questions, including whether the school has gender neutral housing or a discrimination policy that protects them,” said Dr. Eliza Byard, GLSEN’s Executive Director. “The online fair helps to answer many of these questions and more. As the leading voice for LGBTQ students in K-12 education for the past 25 years, GLSEN is committed to ensuring that students have access to the information they need to succeed in the next phase of their education.”
The online fair is part of a partnership between GLSEN and Campus Pride, expanding Campus Pride’s LGBTQ-friendly college fairs, which began in 2007, to 8 cities across the country over the past year. In addition to the in-person fairs, the online college fair supports LGBTQ students in finding friendly higher education options regardless of where they live.
“Studies have shown that young people who are unable to attain a post-secondary education are less likely to gain full access to our country’s economic, political and social opportunities,” said Mike Groff, President and CEO of Toyota Financial Services. “Joining Campus Pride and GLSEN is an extension of our efforts to help young people receive the support needed to succeed in their academic careers and in life regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Participating colleges and universities include Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, North Dakota State University, Occidental College, Rutgers University, San Diego State University, the University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Arizona and University of Miami. A full list of participating universities can be found at www.campuspride.org/collegefair.
Material from a press release was used in this report.
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