Friday, May 1, 2009

Linn-Mar, Waldorf named 2009 "Best GSA"

Executive Director, Ryan Roemerman poses with Jessica Schiermeister, Waldorf GSA President at the 2009 Spring Soiree and Honors Program

Des Moines--Waldorf College and Linn-Mar High School were presented with Iowa Pride Network’s Award for Best Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) at the Annual Spring Soiree Benefit and Honors Program held at the home of Jim and Roxanne Conlin in Des Moines on Thursday night.

The Iowa Pride Network Awards go to GSAs that have shown a committed effort in raising awareness of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues on their campuses and in their communities and have pioneered programs that have increased the respect of LGBT people. Each application is evaluated on five categories: Education, Programming, Advocacy, Outreach and Community Service with consideration given to the impact their GSA programs and initiatives have on the climate and culture of their community.

“Both award-winning GSAs have helped to raise awareness and are actively working to stop anti-gay violence,” stated Ryan Roemerman, Iowa Pride Network Executive Director. “Today in Iowa’s schools 1 in 3 LGBT students will be physically harassed—pushed or shoved and another 1 in 6 LGBT students will be physically assaulted—punched, kicked or injured with a weapon.”

The 2007 Iowa School Climate Survey conducted by Iowa Pride Network showed that LGBT students who have a GSA in their school are 23% less likely to be physically assaulted—and are less likely to skip class.

“We are proud to recognize these GSAs and their work in making every Iowa community a safe and respectful place to live and grow,” added Roemerman.

Click Here to watch Linn-Mar GSA acceptance speech via YouTube