Campus Pride, a national resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, diversity inclusion and advocacy within higher education, recently announced Elon as one of the "Best of the Best" in supporting LGBTQIA students.
Elon University has been included in the 2023 “Best of the Best” list from Campus Pride for a ninth consecutive year. Campus Pride, a national nonprofit resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, selected 30 institutions nationwide that best support LGBTIA communities through their policies, programs and practices.
Campus Pride, a valuable resource for LGBTQ+ leadership development, diversity inclusion and advocacy within higher education, gave Elon a five-star ranking on its Campus Pride Index benchmarking tool. To earn a five-star ranking, campuses must receive a score from 90 to 100% based on their LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices. Campuses are scored in eight LGBTQ-friendly factors, including housing, campus safety, academics, student life, and recruitment and retention efforts.
“This recognition is important as it spotlights the LGBTQIA+ communities at Elon during a time when there are forces at work impacting negatively the lives of queer and trans people,” said Luis Garay, director of the Gender and LGBTQIA Center (GLC) at Elon. “Students often cite the Campus Pride Index as a reason for choosing Elon. Because of this, the GLC is committed to working with our campus partners to continue to provide support and affirmation for LGBTQIA students at Elon.”
Campus Pride began the Best of the Best List to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of colleges and universities dedicated to creating safer, more welcoming campuses for LGBTQ+ people.
Among the accomplishments and milestones at Elon by the Gender and LGBTQIA Center during the past year:
- The GLC received a grant of nearly $300,000 to address sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking from nearly $300,000 from the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women. That grant supported the hiring of the new Assistant Director of the GLC for Gender-based Violence Prevention & Training. Additionally, the GLC created a grant advisory team called the Community Prevention & Capacity-building Team (Community PACT) and recruited over 40 members from 25 campus departments and community organizations. The group met 6 times in the spring semester.
- The GLC forged new partnerships with students in the Department of Performing Arts for Elon Cares, with the Native American Student Association for the first recognition of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women’s Awareness Day at Elon, and with the Kernodle Center for Student Life and CREDE for KING Academy mentoring program at Mayco Bigelow Community Center.
- The Fall 2022 class had the largest number of incoming LGBTQIA-identified students at 199 (a 48.5% increase from the previous year). Also, the Gender and Sexuality Living Learning Community had the largest number of participants at 47 residents (an 88% increase from the previous year), and the 11th Annual Lavender Graduation saw its largest participation levels with 81 LGBTQIA graduates (a 58.8% increase from the previous year).
- The GLC held over 41 events related to LGBTQIA identities or gender-based violence prevention and response, reaching over 1,480 students, faculty, staff and community members.
- The GLC and the LGBTQIA Alumni Network launched a monthly ‘Alumni Q*nnection’ virtual event series to bring together alumni to connect with each other, learn about the network and the GLC, and be updated on the work of the 10 Year Anniversary.
- The GLC will celebrate its 10th Anniversary during Homecoming 2023, which will provide an opportunity to reengage alumni, increase giving, and collaborate on special programming.
“The Best of the Best list was first created in 2009 as a way to showcase colleges and universities that were committed to offering safe and inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ students, so that students and families could make informed choices about where to pursue higher education,” said Campus Pride Founder, CEO and Executive Director Shane Mendez Windmeyer. “In today’s climate, which finds LGBTQ+ identities being used as political talking points and laws being weaponized against LGBTQ+ people, the commitment to creating campuses that welcome and protect LGBTQ+ students can not be taken for granted. The colleges and universities that made our list this year deserve this highest recognition for the efforts they have made and continue to make.”
The full methodology and list of honorees can be found here.