Campus Pride, a resource LGBTQ+ inclusivity, leadership and advocacy, rated UWM five out of five stars for its LGBTQ+ friendly campus community and resources. UWM was one of just 40 universities in the country, and one of only three in Wisconsin, to receive this “best of the best” ranking.
The Campus Pride Index score is based on a university’s LGBTQ policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing and residence life, campus safety, counseling and health services and recruitment and retention efforts.
“This high rating certainly is a very exciting thing for the campus at the community,” said Ariana Myers, director of the LGBTQ+ Resource Center at UWM. “It’s a real credit to the student workers who staffed our center through the time during the height of the pandemic when we had no professional staff and to all the incredible work they put in.”
(Because of staff turnover, students ran the center for much of the Fall 2021 semester.)
Student workers at the center focus on maintaining an inclusive and supportive space, Myers said. This is accomplished through programming, but also through the students’ work to help create a welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to come hang out at the center.
The LGBTQ+ Resource Center organizes the annual UWM Drag Show and the university’s Lavender graduation. A transgender support group, monthly queer Dungeons and Dragons sessions and Coming Out monologues are among the programs the center offers. Coming Out monologues is an open mic night where students can share who they are and how they are feeling in a safe space.
As the LGBTQ+ Resource Center celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, Myers looks ahead to all the ways it can continue to make UWM an inclusive campus.
“Being rated five stars means that we can’t let rest on our laurels,” Myers said. “Being rated five stars means that all eyes are going to be on UWM to see what programs we’re implementing that earned this ranking. We want to be the institution that others model their own programs off of. Those are huge shoes to fill.”