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5 Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Students on Campus

By: Lucie-Kay Desthuis-Francis on Jun 18, 2024 4:44:51 AM
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We recently celebrated Pride with a vibrant event focused on supporting LGBTQ+ students in 2024 and beyond. The celebration featured a dynamic panel discussion on creating inclusive campus communities and highlighted how our innovative solutions promote diversity. Here are five key takeaways on how to support LGBTQ+ students on campus.

1. Promote Inclusivity Through Technology

Our event began with a presentation by Will Lance, one of our product managers, who discussed how Ready Education’s products support inclusivity by providing equal access, opportunity, and resources to marginalized groups. Key features of our products include:

  • Pronouns and Preferred Names: Allowing users to be represented as they choose, fostering a sense of safety and representation.
  • Gender-Neutral Language: Ensuring inclusive terminology across our platforms.
  • Platform Accessibility: Regularly auditing and updating to meet the needs of users with disabilities.
  • Safe and Supportive Environment: Content moderation and reporting features to quickly address inappropriate behavior.
  • Consistent Feedback: Gathering diverse perspectives from students and staff to identify areas for improvement.

2. Encourage Representation and Advocacy

The panel, moderated by Mirko Widenhorn, Senior Director of Client Engagement, featured higher education leaders who shared their experiences and strategies for supporting LGBTQ+ students.

  • Josh Boardman, Director of Student Engagement at Empire State University, emphasized the importance of representation. LGBTQ+ programming such as drag shows can raise funds for the community, helping demonstrate community support and engagement.
  • Dr. Brit Katz, Vice President for Student Life at Southwestern University, highlighted the importance of university non-discrimination statements and advocating for inclusive policies that fully protect all LGBTQ+ members, including individuals identifying as transgender or non-binary.
  • Dr. Darryl Holloman, Vice President of Student Affairs at Spelman College, discussed engaging students through civic organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and revising campus policies on protests to create more healing spaces rather than punitive responses.
  • Andy Kearney, Chief Client Officer at Ready Education, emphasized the need for tailored support services to address the different generational and cultural needs of the LGBTQ+ student population. 

Pride_Encourage Representation and Advocacy
3. Provide Mental Health Support and Safe Spaces

The panelists addressed recent challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including debates over trans rights and DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) initiatives. They shared strategies for supporting students and fostering inclusive environments, including:

  • The importance of mental health support and finding and identifying safe spaces on campus.
  • Encouraging parents to check college policies for inclusivity and understand the importance of well-staffed counseling centers.
  • Counseling support that includes group sessions to encourage a sense of community and belonging.
  • The need for proactive support services, including mental health first aid training programs encouraging students to take advantage of available resources.

4. Celebrate Diversity and Resilience

The discussion also highlighted successful events and initiatives organized by institutions or students that create inclusive spaces for the LGBTQ+ community:

💜 Lavender Graduation: Celebrating LGBTQ+ graduates with ceremonies where graduates receive purple sashes as a symbol of their achievements and upcoming commencement. These celebrations help change campus culture, creating a more inclusive environment, and foster a sense of pride in graduates and the broader community.

🎟️ Annual Mixers: Welcoming LGBTQ+ students and allies during new student orientation offers the community an inclusive social space on campus.

🫂 Community and Family Support Initiatives: Programs tailored for non-traditional LGBTQ+ students, including after-hours events involving families and significant others. 

5. Foster Continuous Improvement and Inclusivity

The panel also underscored the importance of inclusivity and the role of innovative solutions in supporting LGBTQ+ students. Successful initiatives for LGBTQ+ students in primarily online spaces include the creation of affinity groups for staff, faculty, and students, providing a supportive environment for discussing issues and celebrating achievements. In addition, student experience platforms can foster a sense of belonging by promoting LGBTQ+ events to the entire community.  it is important that events for LGBTQ+ students are advertised broadly, highlighting inclusion for all students.

Platforms that encourage diversity and foster safe, supportive environments help ensure every student has the opportunity to succeed. The significance of these inclusive programs in supporting student success lies in fostering a sense of community and acceptance beyond the individual student. 

Pride Month

Our Pride celebration highlighted the ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in higher education, ensuring all students feel valued and respected on their academic journeys. By implementing these five strategies, we can create more inclusive and supportive environments for LGBTQ+ students on campus. 

At Ready Education we are committed to continuous improvement and inclusivity, supporting students in 2024 and beyond.

About Ready Education

Trusted by over 700 institutions, Ready Education is the leading campus experience platform dedicated to building communities and driving retention. Our platform provides a unified solution that seamlessly integrates students’ academic and community life, supporting both academic and co-curricular engagement. Ready equips universities and colleges with customizable solutions that streamline communications, automate key processes, and foster meaningful connections for students, staff, alumni, and community partners. For more information, please visit