GVSU named as a top 50 LGBT-friendly campus

GVL / Emily Frye
Brody Cragg (far left), Sean Diaz (left), Annika Gray (center), Levi Ryfiak (right), and Emily Glownia (far right) pose for a photo inside of the LGBT Center November 12, 2014.

GVL / Emily Frye Brody Cragg (far left), Sean Diaz (left), Annika Gray (center), Levi Ryfiak (right), and Emily Glownia (far right) pose for a photo inside of the LGBT Center November 12, 2014.

Jess Hodge

Students consider many things before deciding what college or university to attend. They factor in tuition prices, their potential major requirements and maybe even how many friends they know also going to the school. Some students also take note of a college’s inclusion efforts. Now, Grand Valley State University is ranked as one the best LGBT-friendly campuses in the country.

College Choice, an online publication that ranks and reviews colleges, recently named their top 50 picks for best LGBT- friendly colleges and universities. GVSU was ranked 37th, based on a multitude of criteria.

According to College Choice, the first set of criteria was based on finding “regionally accredited universities that are high rated by Campus Pride.” Campus Pride is a website that rates the overall LGBT-friendliness of universities. Once schools pass this criterion, College Choice then evaluates colleges based on categories considered important to students including affordability, academic reputation, average financial aid awarded, return on investment and student satisfaction.

Marla Wick, assistant director at GVSU’s Milton E. Ford LGBT Resource Center, was delighted to be receive national recognition.

“The university has committed to improving the campus climate for LGBTQIA student, faculty and staff and this recognition reflects that,” she said. “We are proud of the work we do and we are thrilled that the word is getting out.”

Wick said, although hard to choose just one group of people, a lot of the credit for the ranking could go to the students that either work at or use the resource center.

“The Grand Valley students who use the LGBT center are smart, vibrant and empowered, and they do an excellent job of keeping us on our toes and pushing us to always be better,” she said. “We are always looking for ways to make ourselves more visible and to be a resource to everyone who needs us.”

As the population of students who identify with the LGBT community increase, GVSU’s resource center has improved immensely over the years and its staff hope to keep growing and progressing. Their main focus as of now is finding a new director, which they hope to have in place within the following months.

However, not having a director hasn’t stopped the resource center from having new and exciting things develop in the past few years.

“A few of the biggest developments in the last year was in the number of trainings we offered,” Wick said. “These have given us the opportunity to connect and have conversations with students, faculty and staff from all over the university as well as in the community.”

The LGBT Resource Center staff is happy and excited to offer a variety of educational and fun programs to GVSU students. In the fall, they host socials and receptions, as well as an event called Pride Awards that recognizes people on campus who has positively impacted GVSU’s LGBTQIA community.

“We support a number of student groups that meet regularly in the center including First-year Queer Alliance, Loud and Queer (and) T2,” Wick explained. “Finally, we offer regular training on LGBTQIA issues, concepts, vocabulary and ally skills.”

To learn more about the listed programs, resources or about GVSU’s LGBT Resource Center, visit www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc.

To view the full list from College Choice, visit www.collegechoice.net/rankings.