For the second annual educate2impact day on May 13, 2015, Point Foundation, our community partners, and many supports took to social media to encourage LGBTQ students to get their degrees and empower their lives.

One of the resources provided for current and prospective college students was a Google Hangout, hosted on educate2impact’s website, where a panel of LGBTQ experts weighed in on how students can find and create an LGBTQ friendly campus. Here’s part one of a recap:

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Moderator for the discussion was Jessica Kane, Director of Millennial Outreach at The Huffington Post. Panelists included: Dr. Kim Hackford-Peer, Associate Director of the Gender Studies Program at the University of Utah, and Point Foundation Board Member and Alum; Jacob Tobia, advocate, writer, and speaker committed to justice for gender non-conforming, genderqueer, and transgender people, and Point Foundation Alum; Shane L. Windmeyer, M.S., Ed, Executive Director of Campus Pride; and Tim’m T. West, Managing Director, Teach For America LGBTQ Initiative.

Jessica began by asking the panel, “What are some of the biggest issues that LGBTQ students are facing on campuses right now?” Kim suggested that a wide range of issues from basic respect and proper name/gender identity from professors and peers to the issues of fair housing for LGBTQ students who live on campus, and access to financial aid and health care effect LGBTQ students.

The panel then tackled the issue of how students can navigate the “town/gown” separation – when a college campus is more liberal and accepting than the town that it is in, or vice versa. Tim’m, another Duke alum, suggested getting out of campus to the more liberal parts of the community, “There are resources in the community… and [students] may need to lean on that to help them get through the college experience.”

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“How can we make it easier for LGBTQ high school students to transition to college?” Jessica asked the panel. Tim’m, who has taught K-12 students, suggested helping high school students know what to expect when it comes to a specific campus, and building safer spaces in high schools so that LGBTQ high school students can come out and feel safe earlier before they attend college. Shane discussed Campus Pride’s college fair, (now in its eighth year!) which gives colleges the change to interact with LGBTQ students, students of color, first generation students, and more. Jacob and their LGBTQ group threw ice cream socials for high school students during prospective week; the rest of the panel was suddenly hungry and jealous to have missed out.

A great big thank you to our panelists and moderator – you all rock!

You can watch this hangout on educate2impact’s website, or on Point’s YouTube page.

What are YOUR thoughts? Tweet at us with #educate2impact.

Have questions about paying for college and financial planning? Submit your question via the Ask e2i page through May 18; experts at Wells Fargo are providing answers!

Stay tuned for part two of our recap, which we will post tomorrow!

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