Inspiring Diversity in the University Setting Through LGBT Extracurriculars
By Devin Poole
Higher education seems to be the leading example in diversity recruiting, with students of all different nationalities, ideals, political beliefs, and backgrounds. One population of society that seems to go unnoticed when we consider diversity, however, is that of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community (LGBT). Thankfully, this group seems to be well-represented at many colleges and universities across the nation, and seen through the rise of LGBT extracurricular groups appearing at these establishments.
What are these groups?
Many will assume that LGBT groups are just a gathering of those with alternative lifestyle choices. Whereas this is obviously one purpose of these groups, they are far from only social meet-and-greets. The majority of these groups also welcome heterosexual members, encouraging cohesion and understanding those of all sexual orientations. They are centered around diversity and acceptance, which is a positive atmosphere for any forward-moving university.
What general benefit would an LGBT group have to a university?
Groups have structures similar to those of other extracurriculars in the university setting-oftentimes with events and efforts geared toward equal rights movements and community service. Just as these groups expand beyond assumptions in including members of the mainstream sexual orientation, they also seek to broaden understanding in other areas of diversity issues. These groups offer a venue for the convergence of open-minded thought for valuable progress.
Even without specific involvement, LGBT groups can boost the acceptance of diversity.
When considering admissions, many students will look over the list of extracurricular activities they may want to engage in at a particular university. Student life is important and persuasive. Though a student may not be interested in joining an LGBT group, it serves as a statement that the university is accepting and encourages diversity within its student body. This will attract more open-minded admissions, increasing the amount of diversity and consequently more creative minds with varied experiences.
Though certainly not suggested as a strategic plan, the establishment of an LGBT group in a university setting can foster the growth of an open student community that embraces diversity in a healthy manner and can prove to be an incredibly valuable asset.
The author is very devoted to social issues, particularly ones related to equality and LGBT issues
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