Colby-Sawyer Scores a Four-star Rating on Campus Pride's LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index
Colby-Sawyer College strives to provide a welcoming social and academic environment to students of all nationalities, belief systems and lifestyles, always working toward an ideal representation of a diverse and interconnected world. The national nonprofit organization Campus Pride has rated Colby-Sawyer with four out of five possible stars for its efforts and LGBT-friendliness.
Founded in 2001, the volunteer-driven network Campus Pride monitors and promotes American colleges' and universities' efforts to provide inclusive, prejudice-free atmospheres for their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. In addition to projects such as their LGBT-Friendly College Fair Program and Campus Pride Summer Leadership Camp, the organization conducts the ongoing LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index.
Nearly 400 institutions, including Colby-Sawyer College, have participated in the index, which provides a detailed assessment of a school based on eight factors: policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health, and recruitment and retention efforts.
Colby-Sawyer earned four out of five stars, particularly shining in the areas of policy inclusion, student life, campus safety, and counseling and health. Some of the school's notable LGBT-friendly elements include the Safe Zones student group, which works to create a welcoming environment and holds weekly meetings; open and supportive faculty and staff; and gender-neutral bathrooms in Colgate Hall and several residence halls. Colby-Sawyer also holds LGBT-friendly events throughout the year such as screening The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Diversity Awareness Week, a Drag Ball and National Coming Out Day.
Resident Director Erin O'Dea, the LGBT point person for Residential Education, spearheaded Colby-Sawyer's participation in the index. Having Colby-Sawyer included in the Campus Pride Index is a great way to gauge how we are doing with our LGBT initiatives while also promoting our status to college-bound LGBT students looking for a school that has their interests and well-being at heart, she said.
After months of researching Colby-Sawyer's policies and offerings regarding the LGBT community, O'Dea completed Campus Pride's extensive form, submitted it and waited. When our score of four out of five possible stars came back, I was thrilled, she said. It was nice to see a final, cumulated score after seeing all the positives that the research revealed.
Despite her satisfaction with the four-star rating, O'Dea acknowledges the potential for progress. While this rating gives us a great source of pride and is a talking point for individuals considering attending Colby-Sawyer in the future, she says, it also lets us know where we would like to improve. I look forward to the day we earn that fifth star.
Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Education Kathleen Farrell expressed a similar sense of achievement. For a small school with limited resources, I think we do a great job, Farrell said. Our Campus Pride Index report card has identified areas in which we need to improve, but we should be very proud of receiving an above-average score. In the last few years, we have come a long way.
President Tom Galligan explained what such a positive rating means for Colby-Sawyer as a growing and changing institution. Our recent Campus Pride rating is evidence of what a positive place this is for everyone, he said. I am optimistic about our continued growth in this area and our constant commitment to learning together to understand and employ multiple perspectives. Our goal is to try to make the world a better place.
View Colby-Sawyer College's full assessment at http://www.campusprideindex.org/details/premium.aspx?ID=747
David Hart '13