One of the nation’s most trusted resources for helping students and families find the best campuses for LGBTQ inclusion and safety has named Washington State University one of 2020’s “BEST OF THE BEST” colleges and universities for LGBTQ+ students.

“The honor is absolutely deserved for WSU,” said Shea Cooke, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. “Even though the student population may have more conservative views given WSU’s location, the actual programs and policies the university has instituted and enforced are superb.”

In addition to taking “fabulous” classes as part of WSU’s Queer Studies minor, Cooke said the Gender Identity/Expression and Sexual Orientation Resource Center (GIESORC) is a strong advocate that has cultivated an amazingly supportive atmosphere for LGBTQ+ students.

Matthew Jeffries, director of GIESORC in the Division of Student Affairs, said this recognition is a direct result of students, faculty and staff across the university system working together to make WSU a better place for all students.

“Equity work is teamwork and requires buy-in from the WSU community,” Jeffries said. “Establishing collaborative partnerships is something that my predecessors initiated, and I’m elated to continue their work.”

Jeffries points to recent work accomplished by WSU’s Gender Inclusive and Trans* Support Working Group as an example of how WSU campuses are being transformed. New policies are in place to provide a gender inclusive bathroom in all new construction and major renovations throughout the WSU system. Free menstrual products are also available to students.

“We are listening to what our community needs are and then working towards implementing tangible change to meet those needs, Jeffries said. “We are doing this thoughtfully and feasibly, avoiding roadblocks that limit inclusion.”

WSU is one of eight colleges and universities recognized in Campus Pride’s western region and joins The University of Washington, University of Colorado and University of Oregon as the only schools representing the Pac-12 Conference.

About Campus Pride

Campus Pride works with students, faculty, staff and administrators at more than 1,400 campuses to help support and improve the quality of campus life for LGBTQ+ people. It created the Campus Pride Index as a benchmarking tool to assess LGBTQ+-inclusion efforts in everything from academics, student life and housing, to recruitment and retention activities. This index was used to identify the schools performing the best in these areas.

The Campus Pride Organization selected 40 campuses from six regions of the country who are deeply committed to LGBTQ+ students and rate the highest for LGBTQ+-inclusion in policy, program and practice.

The full listing of colleges and universities receiving the honor be found on Campus Pride’s website.