The nonprofit organization is for student leaders and campus groups working to create safer, more LGBT-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities and provides the index as a self-assessment tool.
UofL has used the index since 2007. On its 2012 assessment, the university scored four and a half stars. Recent initiatives like themed housing for LGBT students and allies, LGBT study abroad experiences and a leadership development program for LGBT ambassadors boosted UofL’s score to the highest rating possible, said LGBT Center Director Brian Buford.
“We’ve improved each year, but seeing the five-star rating today tells me that our hard work has paid off,” Buford said. “Hopefully, seeing this rating will persuade students to attend UofL who might not have otherwise considered the university as their first choice for their college experience.”
“The five-star rating really matches the experience I’ve had here,” said student ambassador Ana Ruiz. “LGBT students at UofL have so many opportunities to get involved and celebrate who they are.”
The Campus Pride Index is designed to help campuses learn ways to improve their LGBT campus life and ultimately shape the educational experience to be more inclusive, welcoming and respectful of LGBT and ally people. It also provides students a tool for finding inclusive schools and helps them assess how welcoming they can expect a prospective school to be.
The self-assessment includes about 50 questions which correspond to eight different LGBT-friendly factors, such as academic life, campus safety and policy inclusion. Questions are weighted to emphasize and add value to specific LGBT components, so a school does not necessarily have to meet every requirement on the index to achieve a five-star rating.
“We’re still working on a few items from the index,” Buford said.