Newswise — BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Binghamton University, State University of New York scored a nearly perfect ranking on the latest national Campus Pride Index, which measures a university’s commitment to LGBTQ+ safety and inclusivity on campus. The University received a 4.5 out of 5, an increase from the 3.5 scores received in previous years.

Nicholas Martin, assistant director of the LGBTQ Center at Binghamton University, sees this as a reflection of the organization’s dedication and Binghamton’s real commitment to outreach.

“Our score increase is because of the advocacy and hard work of past and current Q Center professional staff, student managers, interns, and volunteers to make this campus and the local Binghamton community a more inclusive and welcoming place for the queer community,” Martin said.

Since the Q Center’s inception in 2016, campus outreach has continued to grow and evolve. One of many new initiatives is the center’s Gender Bender Closet, which allows students to get clothes that affirm their gender identity and expression. There’s also the Q Center library, which lends LGBTQ+ books and magazines to students. Major events like Rainbow Welcome and Transgender Awareness Week bring students in the community together.

“The Q Center team has worked tirelessly to increase LGBTQ+ visibility on campus through events, educational workshops, our Gender Bender Clothing Closet, and meaningful collaborations with campus partners and the LGBTQ+ student organizations,” Martin said.

The Campus Pride Index measures a university’s commitment to LGBTQ-inclusive practices, programs, spaces and policy. It highlights the positive work within higher education institutions to keep prospective students informed by helping them to find a school that values their safety and belonging on campus.

This score reflects the efforts of many areas across campus,” Anne Guanciale, director of intercultural affairs, said. “In addition to the work of the Q Center, there is Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, a new LGBTQ+ Living Community in residential life, several LGBTQ+ student organizations, and other faculty, staff and students that have contributed by serving as advocates and community builders.”

To participate in the rating process, a 50-question survey is taken by a campus representative. The criteria include student life, campus safety and health, academic programs, recruitment and retention efforts, housing and policy commitment. Student and residence life practices were each awarded five stars. Campus safety and academic life earned an overall 4.5-star rating.

Rachel Del Fierro, an intern at the Q Center and a sophomore psychology major, believes there is always room for improvement, but sees this rating as a reflection of how far the University has come.

“In the end, we truly care about everyone who visits us, collaborates with us, and seeks out our services, and are always looking for ways to expand our offerings and ensure the safety and well-being of the students,” Del Fierro said.