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College fair emphasizes diversity
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Andrew Davis, Windy City Times
2012-10-10

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College fair emphasizes diversity

The 2nd Annual LGBTQ College Fair took place at the Center on Halsted Oct. 6.

Students and families could talk with representatives from more than 35 local and national colleges, including DePaul University, Knox College, Northwestern University, Washington University in St. Louis and the Adler School of Professional Psychology.

All of the schools had much to offer, from offices specifically for LGBT students to campus-wide safe spaces to minors in gay-related studies. Here's what a few of them have in the way of LGBT resources:

—University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: This school offers an LGBT Studies Certificate Program; has the state's largest collection of LGBT historical and contemporary materials; and hosts the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival. The booth even offered a "how-to" guide to pronouns (e.g., eirself and verself).

—Purdue University: The Big 10 school is one of several throughout the country with newly established offices for LGBT students. Lowell Kane—director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Center—said that only 7 percent of the nation's schools have such offices. In addition, Purdue has a slew of activities planned for National Coming Out Week, including a candlelight vigil Oct. 14.

—Adler School of Professional Psychology: The Chicago school is well-known for inclusion, having a gay president (Raymond E. Crossman). However, it also has an LGBTQ Mental Health and Inclusion Center that provides everything from culturally competent curricula to training sites.

—Bucknell University: The Lewistown, Pa., school has the Office of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Awareness. The "Safe Space Bucknell" page has a list of houses in the Greek system and sports team that offer such areas.

—Syracuse University: The Big East school has an LGBTA Studies Learning Community, with classes such as "QSX 111: Queer Histories, Communities, and Politics." Syracuse offers LGBT studies as a minor and, according to the rep, is on its way to making it a major. There's also the large LGBT Resource Center.

—Marshall University: Located in Huntington, W. Va., the school's representative assured Windy City Times that there are, indeed, progressive areas in this state that doesn't have the most liberal reputation. It has an LGBTO (the "O" standing for "Other") Office and offers safe spaces.

—DePaul University: Another school well-known for diversity, the largest Catholic university in the country has student organizations such as Spectrum DePaul, Act OUT and Trans*(formation) DePaul. There are also safe zone trainings, observances for LGBTQA Month and programs such as "OUT at Lunch."

—University of Illinois-Springfield: Not as well-known as the Champaign and Chicago schools in the state system, this university has a diversity center that directs potential students to LGBTQ scholarships ( www.uis.edu/diversitycenter/scholarships/LGBTQscholarships.html ). There's also the LGBTQA Resource Office.

—Northeastern Illinois University: For this school's involvement with the LGBT community, look at what it's doing this week, as the university is hosting gay African-American author Keith Boykin (Oct. 11). However, the school also has a host of resources and programs, including the very active GLBQTA Alliance.

—University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC): The sprawling school offers the Gender & Sexaulity Center, one of the six Centers for Cultural Understanding & Social Change (formerly known as the Centers for Diversity) at UIC. There's also the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues, which works with the chancellor and provost to address LGBT-related issues and concerns.

—University of Wisconsin-La Crosse: Making sure no one is omitted, this school has an online resource page for "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, asexual students and their allies." There is also a Pride Center, and the web page touts that the school has been ranked in the top 100 schools for LGBTIQQAA students to attend (in the Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students).

—Lawrence University: The Appleton, Wis., school offers a Diversity Center, "which houses the Office of Multicultural Affairs, as well as resources related to ethnicity, race, culture, gender and sexual identity," according to its website. At the fair, Assistant Admissions Director Chuck Erickson (who is openly gay) stressed just how much the school embraces diversity.

Pepsico, Center on Halsted and Campus Pride sponsored the event, and Pepsico provided lots of food and beverage choices for attendees.


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