Students from these schools were far from shy about showing their pride in support of the LGBT community on campus. In one of our favorite list names from the 2013 Unigo College Rankings, we present:
The Top 10 Colleges Where There's Pride & No Prejudice
<a href="www.unigo.com/university_of_california-berkeley/?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Cal-Berkeley on Unigo.com</strong></a> We know what you're thinking: UC Berkeley ended up on this list because it's just a short ride away from San Francisco, the undisputed LGBT cultural capitol of the US. And while that proximity will certainly be both a draw and a boon to some LGBT students, it wouldn't mean as much without comprehensive on-campus resources. Luckily, Berkeley doesn't disappoint: thanks to an undergraduate class of over 25,000, the school is able to support a wide range of specialized LGBT groups. Some are activity oriented, like Out In Business, which focuses on LGBT students looking to enter professional fields, and some are more identity based, like Cal Queer & Asian. Berkeley is even home to Sigma Epsilon Omega, a fraternity specifically for gay students. The school offers a Gender and Women's Studies major as well as an LGBT studies minor. Meanwhile the Gender Equity resource center runs yearly workshops (even for groups not affiliated with the school) and is big enough to have not only a dedicated staff, but an internship program as well. And if there's anything a student can't find on the campus? Like we said, San Francisco's right next-door.
<a href="www.unigo.com/university_of_chicago/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about U of C on Unigo.com</strong></a> cause of the intensity of its academic program, the University of Chicago has picked up the unofficial motto where fun goes to die, and LGBT-affiliated student groups with names like Out in Public (Policy), Outlaw, and Queers and Associates don't do much to dispel that idea. But if you look a little closer, it's clear that the LGBT students at this university do more than just study and plan for their future legal careers. Even a cursory glance at their calendar of events reveal trips to Cubs games, movie nights, and exhibits of work from LGBT artists. (Most recently graphic novelist Alison Bechdel, who was also in residence at the university in the spring of 2012.) The Office of LGBTQ Student Life also developed the (U)Chicago Queer Compass, a guide to the queer life at the university and in the metropolis that surrounds it. And it is truly comprehensive, clocking in at over fifty pages and covering everything from health resources to gay bars and clubs to the ever-shifting vocabulary that is a part of the queer community. It's clear that the LGBT students and faculty at the University of Chicago takes the same approach to developing a community as they do to developing their academics, and the results are thorough enough to provide any undergrad with all the information they could want, and even a bit of fun as well.
<a href="www.unigo.com/university_of_vermont/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about UVM on Unigo.com</strong></a> For those LGBT students who want the advantages provided by a large university, but aren't looking for the urban setting of a school like NYU or Berkeley, the University of Vermont is an excellent choice. The school's size is large enough to accommodate a variety of "social groups" under the banner of the LGBTQA Center, catering to specific subsets of the queer community. The school does offer a Women and Gender Studies major and minor, and at the end of the year holds the LGBTQAcademic Colloquium. Students, faculty, and staff are invited each April to present both research and creative projects related to LGBT topics, generating discussion, feedback, and hopefully inspiring similar work among its attendees. The colloquium is also a part of a larger, campus-wide event called LGBTQApril, a time when the campus hosts speakers, movie nights, and theatrical performances that cover the spectrum of the LGBT experience. (The school even had well known drag group the Kinsey Sicks perform one year.) The surrounding town of Burlington may not be very big, but it still has a handful of gay and gay-friendly bars and clubs -- not too surprising, considering Vermont was the first state in the Union to legalize same-sex marriage -- so LGBT students should feel welcome both on and off campus.
<a href="www.unigo.com/emerson_college/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Emerson on Unigo.com</strong></a> Lots of schools have gay friendly campuses, but few have a student body that takes pride in the unofficial motto “gay by May” like Boston's Emerson College. The prevailing stereotype is that the college’s strong LGBT community is a side effect of its strong media and theater programs, but the school offers much more for queer students, whether or not they want to stand in front of an adoring audience one day. Much like undergrads at NYU, Emerson students benefit from the resources of the city around them, and there are plenty of LGBT groups in the Boston area tailored to specific needs or interests. That's not to say, however, that the school doesn't have its own spaces for queer students. EAGLE, the student club for LGBT people and their allies, hosts social and educational events throughout the year that focus as much on building community as they do on education – think potluck Thanksgiving dinners and a heavy dose of movie nights. (The group also has its own Twitter feed, appropriately enough for such a media savvy school.) For more practical purposes Emerson’s GLBTQ Student Life provides information on activities and resources on campus and in the greater Boston area, career services, and even how to change your name and gender through the Registrar’s Office.
<a href="www.unigo.com/sarah_lawrence_college/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Sarah Lawrence on Unigo.com</strong></a> Nestled in the suburban communities of Bronxville and Yonkers, Sarah Lawrence is often considered by its students to be a kind of island of liberalism and progressive values. The student body may not be that diverse ethnically, but it certainly is when it comes sexuality – to the point where students stick out if they don't espouse the kind of thoughts normally found in an upper-level queer theory class. And the school's student activities bear that out; Sarah Lawrence has not one but three clubs directly related to LGBT experiences: Queer People of Color, Queer Voice Coalition, and Trans Action. The clubs offer a variety of workshops on topics like sexual health and the process of transitioning, but this is still college, and so they also throw their fair share of dances, performance nights, and social mixers. At the administrative level, Sarah Lawrencedemonstrates its commitment to LGBT inclusiveness with the Office of Diversity and Campus Engagement, which was first founded in 2004 to support students of color but has since expanded to work on issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Finally, the school offers a robust selection of LGBT-related courses, with recent courses including “The Invention of Homosexuality” and “Virginia Woolf in the 20th Century.”
<a href="www.unigo.com/syracuse_university/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Syracuse on Unigo.com</strong></a> At a large university like Syracuse, it can be easy to get lost in a student body thousands strong, but one of the strengths of the LGBT community at this upstate New York school is its organization. Take, for example, the "You Are Not Alone" initiative. Developed in response to the wave of LGBT teen suicides that garnered the country's attention in 2010, the initiative distributed over 700 t-shirts bearing the campaign's logo and convinced students and faculty members alike to change their profile pictures to the same image on National Coming Out, creating a powerful and incredibly visual message on campus. There is also the STOP Bias campaign, which encourages students to identify, report, and combat bias discrimination of all kinds in the Syracuse community. These wide-ranging and well-implemented campaigns are what make all the difference for LGBT students looking for community at a university of this size -- quality is important, but so is visibility. Of course, Syracuse also has both an undergraduate and graduate LGBT group, which facilitate other events throughout the year and work in conjunction with the campus's LGBT resource center. Finally, while many schools offer LGBT courses under the banner of gender studies or as singular classes in various departments, Syracuse offers an actual LGBT studies minor to interested students.
<a href="www.unigo.com/brown_university/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Brown on Unigo.com</strong></a> While all Ivy League universities have the infrastructure, population, and funding to ensure a large stable of student organizations dealing with almost any topic, Brown is the only Ivy to make it on our list of top schools for LGBT students. Like NYU, what sets Brown apart is the breadth of its services for LGBT students. Its eight-year-old LGBT Center provides students with resources about sexual health, community programs, and a list of gender-neutral bathrooms around campus, but it also looks to shape the future of queer undergrads. The Renn Mentoring program, for instance, matches LGBT students with LGBT faculty and staff; the mentors share not only their experience in a specific field or profession, but also the experience of being "out" at a grad school or in the workforce. Programs like this that help undergrads plan for navigating LGBT identities beyond graduation won’t be found at many schools, but they provide a vital service. Several student organizations, like the Next Thing and the Queer Alliance, provide support groups, safe spaces, and recreational activities. The school is also notably not shy when it comes to sex and sexuality, with both a men's and women's group devoted to exploring these issues in a safe and non-judgmental environment.
<a href="www.unigo.com/amherst_college/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Amherst on Unigo.com</strong></a> While Amherst College isn't the largest school around, one benefit for LGBT students hoping to find a robust community is the college's membership in the Five Colleges consortium, a collection of schools in and around the town of Amherst, Massachusetts -- this is a college town times five, and so students won't find themselves as confined to the campus as they might at other schools like Amherst. But the college's own resources are far from lacking: students can find information or just hang out at the Rainbow Room, the school's LGBT resource center, and the Pride Alliance holds weekly meetings as well as weekly teas to satisfy both the activist and the social butterfly within an LGBT student. The year-round activities serve not only LGBT students, but also seek to involve the wider community: the Rainbow Room holds a yearly Allies Week for those students who are not LGBT but support the community and its causes. Academically, the school has no official Queer Studies department or Queer Studies program, but offers many related courses through other majors. (Students can also take part in queer classes offered at the other Five Colleges.) And despite the lack of a formal area of study, the school does hand out the Stonewall Prize each year to a senior whose thesis addresses an LGBT topic.
<a href="www.unigo.com/new_york_university/ ?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about NYU on Unigo.com</strong></a> Boasting an undergraduate class of over 19,000 and located in New York City's Greenwich Village (and beyond), it's no surprise that New York University has a thriving culture of LGBT students and faculty. While the school may not have some of the luxuries provided by a small liberal arts college – there's no “bubble” here – it more than makes up for it with its LGBTQ Student Center, which serves as a meeting space for six different student clubs as well as a physical space for queer students to congregate and socialize. The Center also provides information that direct students to resources around the city that deal with everything from health to spirituality. Academically, the school offers a B.A. In Gender and Sexuality Studies and even has its own Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality with dedicated professors. NYU's considerable size and environment means a wealth of resources and a community that would simply not be possible at a smaller school, but that shouldn't diminish the considerable amount of support and effort the school has dedicated to its LGBT community. Did we mention they get to march in one of the largest Pride Parades in the country?
<a href="www.unigo.com/bennington_college/?utm_source=HuffingtonPost&utm_medium=Rankings&utm_campaign=BestLGBTScenes" target="_hplink"><strong>See everything students are saying about Bennington on Unigo.com</strong></a> Much like you'd expect from a school with fairly lax policy when it comes to nudity, Bennington College in Vermont boasts a student body that considers itself open and accepting. The attitude of its student body seems to be an almost unconscious belief in the diversity and equality of sexual orientation and gender identity. While its student club Queer@Bennington isn't as old as some other school's LGBT focused groups, students say that's more because of a lack of need for such a group than a lack of interest. Different sexualities and gender identities are already so accepted by the community at large, so goes the logic, that the whole campus functions as a safe space for LGBT students. That being said, the group hosts a robust series of events year-round, from drag dances to discussions about the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, to a week of coming out focused events. And while there aren’t as many options for LGBT focused study as you would find at a larger school, Bennington’s focus on creating a student body committed to envisioning and acting towards social change is sure to produce students with the drive and, more importantly, the skills to work towards LGBT equality.