Illinois Institute of Technology hosted the first annual Unity Banquet on May 1, celebrating the past year's accomplishments of four distinct and diverse student organizations and their members: Black Student Union (BSU), Latinos Involved in Further Education (LIFE), the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE).
Though they traditionally celebrate individually among their own members, the four groups started the Unity Banquet to recognize the underlying commonalities among all their members.
Though each group's contribution to the campus community is different, they each represent a portion of the rainbow of diversity at Illinois Institute of Technology.
In conjunction with the Unity Banquet, three representatives from the City of Chicago's Commission on Human Relations presented the four student organizations and the university with a proclamation from the mayor of Chicago, citing May 1, 2010, as Unity through Diversity Day in honor of the first annual Unity Banquet and the achievements of diverse groups throughout Chicago and the nation. The three representatives included director of Women's Affairs Denise Ferguson, director of African Affairs Arnold Romeo, and director of Latino Affairs Reggie Gonzalez.
At the banquet, the four student organizations made a pledge to the university to work in community with one another to foster unity through diversity at the university. In addition, each student organization presented its annual awards to outstanding members and supporters.
The program included featured speaker N. Keith Chambers, executive director of the Illinois Human Rights Commission, who focused his remarks on the compatibility of unity and diversity in contemporary American society. Following through on their pledge to promote unity on campus, the four student organizations are working on collaborative events to take place in the fall. (Pictured, left to right): NSBE President Olumuyiwa Jimi-Salami, BSU President Shauna Martin, IIT President John Anderson, IHRC Executive Director N. Keith Chambers, OMSS Director Lisa L. Montgomery, LIFE President Marisol Aguirre, and SHPE President Raul Vasquez