CONCORD — NHTI, Concord’s Community College, has recently been included on the Campus Pride Index, a national listing of LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. NHTI is the first community college in the state to receive this honor, joining several 4-year schools including Plymouth State, Keene State, Dartmouth and SNHU.
Founded in 2007, the Campus Pride Index serves as the premier LGBTQ national benchmarking tool for higher education. A listing on the Campus Pride Index shows that a school has “come out” as an institution that seeks to improve the academic experience for LGBTQ students. The index is updated every May so that schools may “up their game” and strive for a higher rating over time. NHTI currently has a score of 3 out of 5 overall, with sub-scores of 5 out of 5 in Residence Life and Campus Safety.
NHTI’s inclusion on the index is largely the work of the campus Alliance Club and its current president, Information Technology student Richard Nowlin. “Mostly it was just a matter of trying to get the right people into a room to answer a questionnaire,” he says. “I kept thinking, we have a strong club and this is a very open campus … we should be listed!”
But getting on the index is only the first step. “The bigger picture,” says Nowlin, “is how can we improve our scores? We’re at 3 out of 5 now, but I think we have the potential to get to 3½ or even four by the end of the year.” Initiatives that could help boost the school’s score might include: giving NHTI applicants the opportunity to self-identify by gender and sexuality; starting an LGBTQ alumni association; expanding NHTI’s academic offerings in the fields of gender and diversity studies.
“There’s a lot of things I’d like to do,” says Nowlin. “I’m in a position where I can get things moving, with the overall goal of making NHTI a safe home for people who are LGBTQ.”