Campus Pride Announces 2015 Leaders in Action

Campus Pride recognizes Leaders in Action who use their voice and action to stand up for LGBTQ rights, social justice and inclusion on college campuses across the nation

In 2010, Campus Pride expanded on its Voice & Action Award by honoring annually the “Leaders in Action” at college campuses across the country.  These individuals are creating positive change on their respective campuses when it comes to social justice activism and leadership. The “Leaders in Action” recognizes these exceptional students for their work and achievements as young adult leaders.

Campus Pride selected these “Leaders in Action” after a careful review of applications from student leaders across the country.  These students will also be forwarded on to the final review process for the National Voice & Action Leadership Awards to be announced later this month.

Campus Pride is honored to introduce the Leaders in Action for 2015 (listed in alphabetical order):

Each “Leader in Action” defines social privilege and their thoughts as social justice advocates as follows:

Name: Amy Barnhart
Institution: Iowa State University
Age: 20
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Social privilege, to me, stems from what society has deemed as “normal” and “abnormal,” and those whose identities and expressions that are “abnormal” are shunned and oppressed from those who are “normal.” Social privilege is given to those who fit the “typical and normal” American: white, middle to upper class, heterosexual and cisgendered persons. These benefits are given without second thought, while the “abnormal” are oppressed nearly unhindered.
NamLizzyBenwaye: Lizzy Benway
Institution: Case Western Reserve University
Age: 20
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Social privilege describes the ability for the accepted majority to achieve their goals with minimal discrimination and prejudice. I have observed that many people are unaware that the opportunities they have been presented with are a result of their social privilege. This is not the case for everyone; there are many privileged individuals that can appreciate and acknowledge that a big reason for where they are is due to their social circumstances.”
LilyCrawfordName: Lily Crawford
Institution: University of Notre Dame
Age: 20
Definition of Social Privilege:  “I think social privilege has multiple dimensions to it, and is therefore difficult to explain thoroughly and concisely. Social privilege is having an identity in a society that values such identity to such an extent that those people would receive certain benefits, whether spoken or unspoken. In my opinion, there is no person that has complete social privilege in all situations (i.e. there is always one aspect of their identity that isn’t as valued in society); however, certain people are afforded, by birth, family situation or otherwise, more social privileges than others. Social privilege is a construction of each culture that is learned as children and reinforced throughout one’s life through different experiences, the media, and the experiences of others.”
JonGilroyName: Jon Gilroy
Institution: SUNY Albany
Age: 21
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Privilege is silence. Silence meaning the inability to or refusal to acknowledge the differences In experience that exist among the many demographics that make up our society. Privilege is being able to live comfortably without ever having to actively think about a certain aspect of your identity on the daily basis.”

Name: Vanessa Gonzalez

Institution: Rutgers University
Age: 21
Definition of Social Privilege: Social privilege can have many different meanings because privilege manifests in different ways. One way to define privilege is being able to theorize about a person’s experience and be able to study it without having to worry about living it as your own lived experience. Another way to define privilege is not having your identity used against you to further oppress and colonize you.

MatthewHardName: Matthew Hard
Institution: Babson College
Age: 20
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Privilege is something that you never know about until you do not have it. To have a social privilege is just that. You do not need to be conscious of who you are in certain situations, and how you present yourself. You are allowed to always be yourself without needing to understand differences. It is not something to be ashamed of, but rather understand and leverage to help those without it.”
GracieName: Gracie Harrington
Institution: Wake Forest
Age: 21
Definition of Social Privilege:  “In my mind, social privilege means that one has the ability to not notice a certain part of their identity on a daily basis. Social privilege allows one to hold a certain blind ignorance towards problems affecting people without a specific social privilege; that is exactly why social privilege is so dangerous. When used correctly, however, privilege can lead to powerful allies and activists with unique strengths.”
KateHuffmanName: Kate Huffman
Institution: Wartburg College
Age: 21
Definition of Social Privilege:  “To me, social privilege means the advantages that some groups of people have over others in regards to race, gender, class, disability, social class, and other factors. It is my belief that we should seek to become a more equal society by those with certain privileges to help those without those privileges to gain the same footing – or to highlight the inequalities that exist because of our privileges so that the reasons they exist can be questioned and begun to be broken down.”
Name: Luke Lavera

Institution: Siena College
Age: 22
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Social privilege to me means that an individual or a set of individuals possess a special advantage compared to other groups. This advantage can be for a variety of reasons, sex, sexual identity, economic status, to name a few. I believe it is important to be able to not only recognize a privilege, but also to educate others on what it means to be privileged, in any aspect of one’s life.”
Name: Tristan Morton

Institution: Eastern Michigan University
Age: 23
Definition of Social Privilege: “Social Privilege is being able to have a platform to have your voice be heard and have people listen. We all have a voice, but if people listening is the most important part. I feel a lot of issues fall on deaf ear because the “right people” are not saying that these are issues of importance.”
LaurenNeidighName: Lauren Neidigh
Institution: University of Arizona
Age: 22
Definition of Social Privilege:  “Social privilege means that certain groups based on race, sexuality, and gender, among other categories, have advantage over other groups. I associate social privilege with inequality and injustice. It is a problem in our society that needs to be diminished in order to have equality for all human beings.”
WarrenRadebe1Name: Warren Radebe
Institution: Johnson C Smith University
Age: 29
Definition of Social Privilege: “Social privilege has been an imbalanced concept in the world caused by the oppressive systems against anyone defined not suitable to privileges if classified impure race, gender, sex, and social class. Each person is entitled to social privileges that he/she can practice their ideas, values, and activities. However, in all these privileges we share a responsibility to protect our selves and each other from harm, that means no one is supposed to infringe one’s social privileges, and nor be infringed upon. The most critical factor about social privilege is that everyone in world is protected by the constitution to his/her own rights, that no one can take away the enjoyable social privilege we each unique desire to express our genuine self without disturbance and question.”
Name: Jacob Rudolph

Institution: University of Miami
Age: 20
Definition of Social Privilege:  “To me, social privilege is the belief that one group of people is more likely to succeed at achieving than another group based upon their innate characteristics. In other words, the game is rigged. I would expand “social privilege” to “societal privilege” as economic and political inequities are also part of the conversation. As someone who benefits from my race, gender, class, etc., I can attest with certainty to the existence of societal privilege.”
LukeSavotName: Luke Savot
Institution: Bowling Green State University
Age: 21
Definition of Social Privilege: “To me, “social privilege” is a way of identifying opportunities and resources that are given to some (the privileged) and taken away from others (the underprivileged or oppressed) without any regard for the work done to receive those opportunities. People can have some social privileges while lacking others; this is shown through intersectionality. While I am privileged for identifying as a white man, I also identify as trans, which is not privileged.”

Campus Pride is the leading national educational organization for LGBTQ and ally college students and campus groups building future leaders and safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges and universities. The organization provides resources and services to thousands of college students and nearly 1400 campuses annually. Learn more online at

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