Source: The River City News
NKU Campus Honored for LGBTW, Tree Work
Northern Kentucky University received a pair of national recognitions last week, for the university's work in LGBTQ inclusivity and its trees on campus.
NKU was named a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation, the eleventh straight year for the Highland Heights campus.
"Tree Campuses and their students set examples for not only their student bodies but the surrounding communities showcasing how trees create a healthier environment,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Because of Northern Kentucky University's participation air will be purer, water cleaner and your students and faculty will be surrounded by the shade and beauty the trees provide.”
Tree Campus USA reviews five standards when evaluating institutions: establishing a campus tree-care plan, maintaining a tree advisory committee, dedicating annual expenditures for its campus tree program and holding an Arbor Day observance and student service-learning project. Three hundred eighty fives institutions around the country were honored for their urban forest management efforts.
NKU has implemented many sustainability efforts across campus, including establishing an on-campus community garden, providing alternative transportation methods and creating ‘no mow’ zones to return areas of campus back to its natural state. In November, NKU became the first organization in Kentucky to join the Cincinnati 2030 District—an international network of cities developing a new model for urban sustainability.
Meanwhile, NKU received the highest designation by Campus Pride Index—establishing the university as a national leader in higher education for LGBTQ-inclusive policies, programs and practices.
NKU’s 5-star ranking is the best in Greater Cincinnati.
Campus Pride Index, an LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for colleges and universities, ranked NKU as 27th in the nation out of more than 350 institutions, making it the highest-ranking university in the Commonwealth.
“This rating recognizes what those of us who are here already know—that NKU is an inclusive community that strives to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, faith, sexual orientation or age have a sense of belonging here. I am proud of our faculty, staff and alumni who have worked diligently towards creating an inclusive culture particularly for our LGBTQ students, faculty and staff,” said NKU President Ashish Vaidya.
The Campus Pride Index assessed each institution’s efforts with LGBTQ policy inclusion, support and institutional commitment, academic life, student life, housing, campus safety and counseling and wellness.
“Inclusiveness is part of the culture at Northern Kentucky University. The LGBTQA community is represented throughout the campus leadership, and this leadership regularly visibly celebrates our community. The Office of LGBTQ Programs and Services works with campus and community partners to cultivate a welcoming, inclusive campus for LGBTQA students, faculty and staff,” Campus Pride stated in its review.
Campus Pride highlighted NKU’s advocacy programs and services, campus inclusivity and resources like the Name Change Form and P.R.I.D.E Mentor Program. Each year, the university also celebrates LGBTQ History Month in October with multiple events throughout the month.
“We’ve been recognized with a 4.5-star rating over the last several years. Finally achieving a 5-star rating continues to be a campus-wide effort that we’ve engaged in over the last six and half years,” said Bonnie Meyer, director of NKU’s LGBTQ Program and Services. “NKU’s rich culture of acceptance has allowed any student to find their authentic self, and as the founding director of the Office of LGBTQ Programs and Services, I could not be prouder of our university.”
“This ranking is a direct reflection of the values of the university. It is our vision and mission to create a community that welcomes all students. It is important to not only acknowledge but to celebrate the diversity of our students who call NKU home,” said Darryl Peal, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer and Title IX Coordinator.
The LGBTQ Programs & Services Office was created in the summer of 2013. As part of the Office of Student Affairs, it’s committed to offering programs and services to increase visibility, awareness and advocacy for the LGBTQ students, staff and faculty at NKU.