MANHATTAN — Kansas State University’s Sam Brinton has been named one of the Top 12 Leaders in Action by Campus Pride, and is a finalist for the organization’s 2011 Voice and Action Leadership Award.

Brinton, Manhattan, is a senior in vocal music performance and mechanical engineering with a nuclear option.

Campus Pride is the only national nonprofit organization for student leaders and campus groups working to create a safer college environment for lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual students on college campuses across the U.S. The 12 honorees were selected by the Campus Pride Youth Advisory Board based on their accomplishments in working for progressive change on their campuses, in their communities and in their regions.

Brinton’s involvement includes serving as president of K-State’s LGBTQ&More/LGBT&Allies student organization since 2009; as a member and acting secretary of Delta Lambda Phi progressive fraternity; and as a member of the planning committee for K-State’s LGBT Resource Center, which opened in summer 2010. He worked with K-State student government to get funding for a center coordinator.

On a local and regional level, Brinton organized a student group to attend a recent march for gay rights in Washington, D.C. He also organized a volunteer student group that worked at an AIDS clinic in Dallas, Texas, as part of an alternative spring break trip. He has made numerous presentations on topics dealing with lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual issues to classes and campus and community organizations. He was an organizer of the first Manhattan Pride event at K-State’s 2010 All-University Open House. In addition, he organized successful efforts for urging the adoption of a Student Governing Association resolution in support of a lesbian, gay, transgendered and bisexual anti-discrimination ordinance for the city of Manhattan.

Brinton credits the support he has received at K-State for his successes.

“I have a university president who opens his home to my student organization for our progressive dinner fundraiser. I have professors and mentors who are here for me no matter what,” Brinton said. “We have a new LGBT Resource Center, are one of the only universities in the world with a progressive fraternity and a progressive sorority, and we are seeing tremendous growth in the student group LGBT and Allies.

“The atmosphere isn’t always easy in Manhattan, but I know that my fellow students and faculty members are going to stand behind me to make K-State a better place for every Wildcat,” he said. “I truly thank everyone who has helped make K-State a better place for the LGBT and allied community. I may be getting an award, but the work to accomplish equality and diversity at K-State has been done by many amazing students and faculty.”

As one of the Top 12 Leaders in Action, Brinton is a finalist for Campus Pride’s Voice and Action Leadership Award. Recipients of the honor will be announced in mid-January. He also has been invited to serve on the Campus Pride Youth Advisory Board, which will select the 2012 Top 12 Leaders in Action. The group serves as the sounding board for the executive director and other staff members of Campus Pride, and assists with special projects.

Brinton plans to graduate in May 2011 and will attend graduate school at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of California at Berkeley. He plans to seek master’s degrees in nuclear engineering and public policy or technology and policy.

“I would like to serve as an adviser to political leaders on nuclear energy fuel cycle technologies, with the end goal of being appointed the U.S. secretary of energy. I will also have a studio where I will teach voice lessons throughout my life,” he said.

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