Campus Pride is a nationally recognized organization dedicated to making campuses more LGBT-friendly. The organization's annual Campus Pride Index is based on a set of 50 questions that correspond to eight different LGBT-friendly factors.
The Princeton Review also ranks the best (and worst) campuses for LGBT students each year, but its results are based on a survey of 126,000 random students at 378 top colleges. Colleges come to the Campus Pride Index and work with the organization to form a group of faculty and students, LGBT people included, to rate their school by the index's factors.
Below, in no particular order, are the top schools from the Campus Pride Index's most recent list and some of the unique student groups and organizations they offer. BuzzFeed also reached out to students at the various campuses for their thoughts.
Southern Oregon University (Ashland, Ore.)
Fierce Feature: SOU's LGBT center lists where every gender-inclusive bathroom is located on campus. The center also hosts several annual events, including a Queer Carnival, an Erotic Poetry Lit Slam, and a Trans Training Workshop.
University of Southern California (Los Angeles)
Fierce Feature: USC's LGBT center has several groups, including Greek Chat. Greek Chat (est. 2010) is a confidential support group for out, closeted, and questioning students in Fraternities and Sororities. It is facilitated by current and openly gay/lesbian/bisexual members of the Greek community. It is an opportunity to discuss any challenges freely and in a safe environment and rewards being LGBT and Greek.
Ithaca College (Ithaca, N.Y.)
Fierce Feature: As part of its LGBT Awareness Month in March, Ithaca's LGBT center has a National LGBT Health Awareness Week to discuss LGBT health, and it invites several speakers, such as Joy Ladin, the first openly transgender professor at an Orthodox Jewish institution, who spoke last year about her experience being transgender and Jewish.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Fierce Feature: UIC's One More Chance Clinic is a community partner organization that hosts weekly discussion groups led by Stephvon "Bo" Cook, MMHC, CADC. The group helps men who have been affected by emotional disturbances, substance abuse, HIV, incarceration and sexuality issues to understand their potential through confidential holistic therapeutic mental and emotional support.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Fierce Feature: UMass Amherst's LGBT center developed bulletin boards for RAs to use in their residence halls, including bulletin boards like the "How to Be an Ally," "Same Sex Families," and "LGBT Trivia" boards.
University of Washington (Seattle)
Fierce Feature: UW's LGBT center has two new support groups this year: the Lavender Circle (where there are discussions of gender identity, gender expression, sexual identity development, and more), and the Trans & Queer Support group, facilitated by two masters of social work students interning at the Q Center.
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities (Minneapolis)
Fierce Feature: U of M's LGBT center has an LGBT International Student Drop-In Center that invites students to stop by and talk with fellow international LGBT students.
University of Maryland, College Park
Fierce Feature: The University of Maryland has a program called "The One Project," which is an award-winning firsthand experience for LGBT and allied students. It ensures that LGBTQA-identifying first-year students make a successful transition to college.
Washington State University (Pullman, Wash.)
Fierce Feature: A few years ago, Referendum 74 was up for debate, and WSU students made a video to support marriage equality. Referendum 74 passed at the statewide level and had a majority in Whitman County (where WSU is located), the only county east of the Cascades that had a majority in favor of marriage equality.
Carleton College (Northfield, Minn.)
Fierce Feature: Carleton stages Carleton Monologues, a reading of personal pieces written by Carleton community members and inspired by Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues.
Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, Ohio)
Fierce Feature: In addition to having a gorgeous LGBT center, Case Western provides transgender-related health care to all of its students as part of their student health care plan. The center also offers an LGBT-related academic opportunity: a short-term, study-abroad course in Amsterdam this spring break called "Gender & Sexuality Justice: LGBT Life in the Netherlands," which is being offered through the School of Social Work.
Connecticut College (New London, Conn.)
Fierce Feature: The school's LGBT center has several faculty and staff workshops throughout the year. Their most recent workshops include "The Transgender Friendly Classroom," "How to Be an Ally to Trans* Students," and "Best Policies for an LGBTQ Friendly Campus."
Macalester College (Saint Paul, Minn.)
Fierce Feature: All single-stall restrooms on campus were converted to all-gender restrooms.
Oberlin College (Oberlin, Ohio)
Fierce Feature: Oberlin's LGBT center has an annual speaker series called My Name Is My Own: Queering the Intersections of Race, Gender, Class, and Sexuality, which provides institutional support to Oberlin communities that identify as queer and of color in the broadest senses of those words. It features public lectures, film screenings, artistic and activist performances, workshops, and small discussion groups.
Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)
Princeton University (Princeton, N.J.)
Fierce Feature: A new program this year is Active Allyship: An Educational Workshop Series, an educational series focused on how to develop tools to be a better ally. Other annual programs the school offers include Queering the Color Line Family Dinners, Bisexual Day Celebration, Hey Mom, I'm Gay!: Coming Out to Family & Friends, and the LGBT International Students Dinner.
The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
Fierce Feature: OSU has a meeting for freshman and transfer students who are coming out, called the LGBTQ First Year Cohort, which meets every Monday night. This program exists to build community and engage lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and queer students in social, support, and educational experiences. Student leaders help to facilitate each session, plan social outings, coordinate small group discussions, and serve as mentors to group participants.
University of California, Riverside (Riverside, Calif.)
Fierce Feature: Since 1998, UC Riverside has hosted Tuesday Talks, a unique discussion every Tuesday night that covers various topics — including nights called Fluidity, GRRL Talk, Guy Talk, Let's Talk About Sex!, and QPOC, for queer people of color.
University of California, Santa Cruz
Fierce Feature: UC Santa Cruz provides a list of religious organizations that accept all identities.
University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Fierce Feature: UM's My Voice Program provides panels that feature trained LGBTQA and similarly identified speakers to share their personal stories with audiences. The panels, the oldest and most popular of its educational programs, provide information about LGBTQ issues with a personal touch.
University of Minnesota — Duluth
Fierce Feature: University of Minnesota has an LGBT AA support group that meets every Friday; a student can request to live with someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or an ally; and the center will get a student acquainted with the center before arriving.
University of Oregon (Eugene, Ore.)
Fierce Feature: University of Oregon's Standing Committee for LGBT Concerns was officially organized in 1990 as the President's Committee on Lesbian and Gay Issues. As part of the 1991 Campus Climate Assessment, several recommendations were made to the UO administration to improve the campus climate for lesbian and gay people. Since that time, the committee has grown in both membership and scope and continues to serve the campus community as the school creates a more welcoming and supportive experience for LGBTQ people at the University of Oregon.
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia)
Fierce Feature: Every Wednesday, PennAces meets — a student organization that promotes awareness, education, and safety for the asexual community in Philadelphia. Its goals are to provide a safe space for the asexual community, promote asexual inclusivity in LGBT spaces, and educate mainstream America about the complexities of not simply whom someone is attracted to, but to what degree sexual attraction plays in our lives.
Rutgers University (New Brunswick, N.J.)
Fierce Feature: For three months in the spring, on the last Friday of the month, Rutgers holds a Safe (R) Space Training three-hour training session that provides a foundation of knowledge necessary to be a more effective ally and advocate for LGBTQ students and those questioning their sexuality.
Portland State University (Portland, Ore.)
Fierce Feature: At the beginning of every semester, PSU's Transgender and Interpersonal Violence Resources coordinator will email professors to advise them of a student's chosen name and pronoun along with a way to contact the center with questions.