Gabe Riviere, information specialist in the Office of Student Services at University of Wisconsin-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, has received the UW System’s Dr. P.B. Poorman Award for Outstanding Achievement on Behalf of LGBTQ+ People.
“I’m proud to be recognized from our small campus, because I hope it shows that this work is building, and that we need to continue making connections and coalitions with our communities, making them into something larger and more impactful,” said Riviere.
This is the 11th year that UW System has given the award, which recognizes LGBTQ+ people or their allies whose contributions have advanced the work of diversity, equity and inclusive excellence, through advocacy, activism, or scholarship, and whose work has:
- Fostered social justice and organizational change
- Created positive transformation within UW institutions and/or the community to achieve the goals of diversity, equity and inclusion
- Improved the climate for, or visibility of, LGBTQ+ people
After he arrived on campus as a student in the fall of 2009 and since joining the Student Services staff in 2016, Riviere has been an ardent champion of LGBTQ+ issues. He is currently the advisor for the campus PRIDE Club, and has helped that student organization become one of the strongest and most robust club voices at the Baraboo Sauk County campus. He has spoken in front of the local school board to advocate for transgender inclusivity and protections in the local school district, and has led collaborations with local churches and community members to host evenings of dialogue on intersectionality, and visibility and awareness for transgender persons.
Riviere’s advocacy and leadership initiated Safe Space trainings for faculty, students and staff, and campus-wide diversity and ally training shifted from student-led organizations to the campus administration because of his work. He has been a leading voice on campus to help educate students, faculty and staff on pronoun usage, terminology and current problems facing LGBTQ+, and consistently advocates for the needs of students on campus. Through his ongoing efforts, there have been significant impacts on the campus climate, with greater awareness and greater action to support LGBTQ+ students and the challenges they face.
“The more I have learned about LGBTQ+ history, the more I see that you have to have allies in power, or nothing really changes,” Riviere offers. “But at the base level, at a personal level, just finding someone that you know, who is there for you, who sees your experience and recognizes it, and respects you for it, and will do their best to be an ally, can be the difference for someone.”
Riviere was formally recognized and honored at an awards ceremony in Madison, Wisconsin on Nov. 7.