A reason to celebrate

By Linda Luk

More than 40 people attended the annual Unity in Diversity ceremony Wednesday afternoon that recognized the winner of a poster contest and highlighted the new Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center.

“UID annual ceremonies are necessary,” said Louise Steeves, this year’s winner for the UID theme contest and a senior communication major. “It gives students an opportunity to express their feelings on diversity issues. I think it is a great idea, and I like to get involved with diversity issues.”

The theme this year is “Unity in Diversity: Explore, Create, Appreciate.”

Adding to the theme, Angel Hernandez, a senior communication major and Northern Star assistant production manager, designed the winning poster for the contest.

“I think most of all, it is the title: Unity in Diversity,” Hernandez said. “I just thought the organization represents something positive for students and the university.”

Michelle Bringas, chair of the Unity in Diversity Steering Committee, announced the new display, which will be placed at the Holmes Student Center Café.

“Margie had an idea to write a Pepsi grant to frame all the UID posters from 1998 to present,” Bringas said.

The display will remain in the café, and every year a new poster will be added to the gallery, Bringas added.

Along with recognizing the winner for the contest, the ceremony also highlighted the new LGBT Resource Center with a PowerPoint presentation by Margie Cook, coordinator for the LGBT Resource Center.

“Every year we invited someone who is involved with diversity issues to present at the ceremony,” Bringas said. “We asked Margie this year because we thought it would be a good way to highlight her move and to give attention to LGBT Awareness Month.”

The presentation started with Cook sharing an essay written by a gay high school student. Cook shared the story as a reminder of the isolation the LGBT community faces.

Following the story was a short overview of NIU’s LGBT program’s development as well as services the LGBT resources center provides. The LGBT Resource Center not only serves NIU, but also DeKalb and other institutions that need information on LGBT issues.

“Many days I certainly feel like what I probably am: The only little gay resource center on the prairie,” Cook said. “People come from near and far because this little office that I run is an oasis.”