For the 10th year in a row, Penn State received a five-star rating — the highest score possible — on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender-Friendly Campus Climate Index.
The Campus Climate Index, operated by Campus Pride, is a national tool used to assess campus life for LGBT students and their allies, said Brian Patchcoski, assistant director for the Penn State LGBTA Student Resource Center.
The index is operated by to assist schools on improving LGBT campus life.
“I think it shows that we are doing a great job and shows that we can keep improving so that Penn State can keep reaching those benchmarks,” Patchcoski said.
Every year, the staff members and directors of the Penn State LGBTA Student Resource Center evaluate areas such as LGBT policy inclusion, student life, housing, campus safety and academic life, Patchcoski said.
Prospective and current students have seen Penn State on the Climate Index and have called to asked questions about Penn State, he said.
“It’s a great recruitment tool,” Patchcoski said. “They call us to find out what Penn State is about, but right now it’s just a great resource for students to see if they will feel accepted and want to apply here.”
Julian Haas has worked for the Penn State LGBTA Student Resource Center since his freshman year at Penn State, but did not know of the climate index when he applied.
“I wish I had known about it,” Haas (senior-sociology) said. “It would have helped me choose a place to come, but I lucked out coming to a school that was this open and accepting.”
Haas said the Campus Climate Index holds schools accountable for the way LGBT students are treated on campus and shows the quality of the safety and support of Penn State’s campus.
For student Zach Davis, having an LGBT-friendly campus was important in choosing where to attend college.
Davis (freshman-international politics) was treasurer of his high school’s gay-straight alliance and said it was nice to find out about Penn State’s LGBTA Student Resource Center because other schools he applied to did not have the same resources available.
Davis said he stopped by the center yesterday and was immediately welcomed in and signed up to volunteer his time.
“[The center] really justifies my choice of coming to Penn State and is a really big part of me coming here,” Davis said. ”I’m really glad I made it.”
Penn State has had a five-star ranking since 2001 — proof that Penn State is doing great work, Patchcoski said.
“We are Penn State and we really are a community, and we are excited about this year.”