For the second year in a row, the University is attending targeted college fairs to reach out to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
This Saturday, Yale sent local alumni to represent the University at the Campus Pride College Fair in San Diego, Calif., for the second year in a row. Yale often sends alums to represent the University at a variety of different college fairs, Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said, noting that participation in the Campus Pride fair was coordinated by the Yale Admissions Office and supported by other offices such as the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department and the Office of LGBTQ Resources.
Asked why Yale participates in the fair given the large, existing LGBT population on campus, Brenzel said such efforts demonstrate the University’s commitment to inclusiveness.
“We cooperate with outreach groups of many different kinds across the country that seek to send a message of inclusion,” Brenzel said in an e-mail. “Our objective is always the same: to help get the message out that Yale is open to talented students, regardless of matters related to personal identity or background.”
Brenzel said Yale does not track the names of students who attend any fairs in which the University participates, noting that such events are meant only to provide information.
Yale’s participation in such an event provides tangible proof that the school is inclusive of LGBT students, said Shane Windmeyer, director of non-profit Campus Pride, which organizes the fairs.
“[The fair] is taking an invisible minority like LGBT students and making them visible for schools like Yale,” he said.
The fair is one of three total Campus Pride college fairs nationwide aimed at LGBT students, the only such fairs of their kind. While Yale has not had consistent participation in the other two fairs, Maria Trumpler, director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources, said she is working with a member of the admissions office to try to send more Yale representatives in the future.
Some of Yale’s peer schools that have participated in the fair in the past include Stanford, Princeton and Columbia universities, as well as the University of Pennsylvania. At the fair this weekend, Yale was joined by fellow Ivy League schools Princeton and Penn, as well as about 25 other institutions.
While such fairs are well-attended by colleges, attendance by students is “fairly low,” at least at the Philadelphia fair, said Bob Schoeneberg, director of the LGBT Center at Penn, which has hosted the fair twice. As more institutions participate, he said, the fairs will expand their reputation and hopefully attract more high school students.
The fair shows important administrative support for outreach to LGBT students, who are an essential part of Yale’s student community, Rachel Schiff ’10, co-coordinator of Yale’s LGBT Cooperative, said.
“I think it is really important to have a really strong LGBT community to foster a diverse community at Yale to encourage professors and students alike to think outside the heteronormative box,” she said.
Still, despite this positive outreach, Schiff said, Yale could do more to support LGBT students on campus, pointing to the recent stall of the gender-neutral housing policy.
Yale does well to participate in the fairs, said Madeline Emery ’11, who said she was aware of LGBT life at colleges to which she applied.
“There’s no reason why Yale shouldn’t participate in LGBT college fairs, she said. “It can only help people.”
Over the next academic year, Campus Pride will host fairs in New York City, Atlanta, San Diego and Minneapolis, Windmeyer said.