For the first time in the U.S. Department of Education’s history, the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention held a conference that focused on improving the social climate for LGBT students at universities across the country.
Vincent Vigil, director of the USC LGBT Resource Center, presented a talk on “Strengthening Admissions Protocols to Support LGBT Students and Their Families” to the more than 80 participants who attended the skill-building training institute, which took place July 13-14 in St. Paul, Minn.
“Our university is ranked as one of the best LGBT-friendly universities, so it already has that status around the country,” Vigil said. “With that distinction comes a lot of responsibility for USC. With the help of student affairs and the admissions department, we’ve created a specific recruitment brochure called the LGBT College Experience Guide, which is available both online and in print for prospective students.”
Vigil, who gets inundated with calls every summer from parents and students asking how safe the USC campus is for LGBT students, stressed the need for each university to find what outreach practices work best for its students.
“We talked about types of resources that could be offered by universities for prospective LGBT students,” Vigil said. “It could be brochures, a Web page, networking within respective admissions departments. It’s all about finding ways in which you can make your campus more LGBT friendly.”
Although he considered the two-day institute “a good step in the right direction,” Vigil insisted that there is more work to be done by the Department of Education in terms of LGBT awareness in higher education and the K-12 public school system.
To access a link to the USC LGBT Resource Center’s online brochure for perspective prospective students, visit sait.usc.edu/lgbt/signature-programs/prospective-students.aspx