Moving forward: KSUnite reaches its third iteration in 2019

Kansas State students gather for the KSUnite Rally at Anderson Lawn on Nov. 14, 2017. (Alanoud Alanazi | Collegian Media Group)

The third KSUnite will take place on Nov. 6 in the K-State Student Union. The event will begin with the Unity Walk at 12:30 p.m.

Maritza Segarra, Kansas State alumna and 8th District Court judge, will be the keynote speaker to discuss the trials many women face ascending to top-level positions in their fields of work. There will also be a panel of student speakers.

Bryan Samuel, chief diversity and inclusion officer, facilitated the event for the past two years and said he is excited to be on board for the 2019 KSUnite event.

“KSUnite is our campus’ signature event to reaffirm our commitment in our position to diversity and inclusion,” Samuel said. “Kansas State University is the first operational land grant institution in the country, and we have always been open to individuals interested in pursuing higher learning without regard to race, gender and creed.”

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The data in this graphic was gathered using a social media poll that ran for 24 hours. At the time of data analysis, 158 people interacted. Twenty-seven respondents answered "Yes," 61 respondents said "No" and 70 said "It's a work in progress."
(Infographic by Kaylie McLaughlin | Collegian Media Group)

Samuel said K-State continues to pursue that every day, and KSUnite brings many people together.

“Students, faculty, staff, community members, alums — whoever is interested in participating to come together to celebrate our long, rich history of being on the right side of this particular social phenomena and learn,” Samuel said. “Leveraging our expertise and our credentials and experiences of our community members and educating and engaging and empowering each other around diversity and inclusion.”

Samuel said KSUnite has a rich history on campus despite only being around for two years.

“Each year we are growing a little bit and expanding upon it,” Samuel said.

Last year, KSUnite offered breakout sessions in the union for individuals to engage “along different connected lines of affinity” than they normally would have.

“This one will offer a number of breakout and concurrent sessions,” Samuel said. “About 20 concurrent sessions that will take place in two strains: [there will be] two concurrent sessions and each line will have 10 options in it.”

Also, students, faculty and staff have had the opportunity to submit proposals on topics that educate, engage or empower people.

“[Education] is about sharing information, helping individuals learn about different things that they may be interested in knowing or unfamiliar with,” Samuel said. “Engage in those different types of issues where there is an opportunity to converse about different things … with another. Empower those things that give us skills and ability to interact and engage and think about influencing behaviors and things of that nature. All of these are tied to our principles of community and our Tilford Multicultural Competencies.”

Samuel said the event had “phenomenal” attendance in the past two years and he hopes students continue to engage in KSUnite in the future.

“I would love to see this event continue,” Samuel said. “I would love to see more student presenters, would love to see greater collaboration with students, faculty and staff in the different topics and things that they present. We have a little bit of that for 2019. Moving forward, I would love to see it referred to as one of those national best practices and models for other institutions to follow. We’ve had quite a bit of inquiry about KSUnite, and I know some institutions are following our lead.”

Overall, Samuel said he is proud of KSUnite and the effect it has on campus.

“I would love to see the ripples in the pond the way more institutions are doing,” Samuel said. “So you know, I’m excited about it, I’m proud to be a part of and just know that I had a little bit of input in this thing that is really, really good for our campus.”