Harvard admissions officials joined counterparts from nearly 30 other colleges yesterday at a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT) friendly college fair designed to encourage dialogue with prospective applicants about GLBT issues on campuses.
Co-hosted by Campus Pride and Friends of GLBT Youth and held in the great hall of the Massachusetts State House, the fair drew high school students, guidance counselors, and parents from across the Northeast region.
The fair’s environment provided a more comfortable setting for students to ask questions about GLBT issues than they would get at a general college fair, said Harvard admissions officer James R. Pautz ’06, who was vice chair of the Harvard-Radcliffe Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgendered, and Supporters’ Alliance (BGLTSA) during his undergraduate days.
“[Harvard] is very welcoming for students of all orientations,” he said.
Conor, a high school senior from Mass. who attended the event, said queer issues are “not really something that come up in info sessions.”
GLBT Youth board member Lex Thomas requested that high school students’ last names not be printed to protect their privacy in connection with a potentially sensitive subject matter.
Shane L. Windmeyer, the executive director and founder of Campus Pride, commended the Massachusetts government for its progressive outlook. “Not too many state governments would allow this in their house,” he said.
Susan M. Harvey, a high school history teacher and Gay-Straight Alliance faculty adviser from Littleton, Mass., brought 11 Littleton High School Students to the fair. The smaller size of the event gave students an opportunity to have meaningful conversations with college representatives, she said.
Other colleges represented there included Brown, Dartmouth, Tufts, and Yale. Several GLBT activist groups also attended with the aim of encouraging incoming college students to get involved in GLBT activism.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, according to Timothy R. Kelliher, the president of Friends of GLBT Youth—a Boston-based organization that joined with Campus Pride to host the fair.
Campus Pride is a national organization “for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for GLBT students,” according to its Web site, The group is known for its “Campus Climate Index,” a ranking that assesses the quality of life for GLBT students on college campuses.
Campus Pride plans to co-host college fairs with other groups in Los Angeles and New York later this year.