University of Wisconsin-Platteville senior Beck Hanner is being honored with the 2022 Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ People. The annual award recognizes UW System faculty, staff, students or community members for their excellence in advocacy, research, teaching or service on behalf of the LGBTQ+ communities. Hanner is the first UW-Platteville student to receive this award.
“I have consistently worked to better the University of Wisconsin-Platteville LGBTQ+ community,” said Hanner, a political science major from Oregon, Wisconsin. “The most exciting part to me is showing other students that they can do things as well. It can be scary to be the first one to do it, but when someone breaks the barrier, you realize maybe I can do that too. I’m hopeful other students will take steps forward and try to be activists on campus, be better allies and support the queer community overall.”
Four years ago, when Hanner stepped onto campus and saw the pride flags hanging in the Doyle Center windows, they felt seen. Since then, Hanner has been highly involved in making sure the campus community continues to be a safe and inclusive environment. Hanner is president of the Alliance, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for Student Senate and a student worker at the Doyle Center.
“Every student on campus deserves to feel like a valuable person. I strive to help students feel like they’re worthy and valuable,” they said. “There’s growth in the queer community with more non-binary and trans students. They need to know their professors support them and people are working to make the community better, because we do live in a rural community. There are a lot of stigmas, bias and hate. I have undergone some of that myself, and I’ve seen friends have to deal with it. [We] need to make sure, with the new students coming to campus, that they feel welcomed and can create a home here in Platteville, like I was able to do.”
Hanner emphasized the importance of helping students navigate life on campus and the power of representation.
“Every student has a place on campus,” they said. “It’s why I do what I do. I want every student to feel like they can find their space on campus. It takes a little bit of work, but once you find it, it’s worth it.”
Hanner will be recognized at a ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 10 in Madison. According to UW System, the award celebrates the memory and legacy of Dr. Paula B. Poorman, a faculty member at UW-Whitewater dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ people.
To learn more about the award, visit www.wisconsin.edu/grants-awards/poorman-award.