Q&A - February 19, 2016

At OSUIT, we hail our ethnic diversity as being one of our many strengths as an institution of higher education and learning. I am quite proud of the fact that in the latest U.S. News and World Report rankings of Best Colleges, OSUIT made the list of regional colleges with the best ethnic diversity.

The racial breakdown of our student population is approximately 58% White, 21% American Indian, 5% Hispanic, 5% African American, 1% Asian, and 10% other or unreported. As such, we enjoy many inherent opportunities to learn about different peoples and ways of life.

Q: How is OSUIT celebrating Black History Month?

Black History Month is in full swing at OSUIT. Throughout February, there have been several activities and exhibits offered for the enjoyment of all visitors to campus that celebrate the rich history and culture of African Americans. Allow me to provide a brief summary of some of these special events.

“Early Oklahoma: Black Hope/Black Dreams” is the name of the traveling history exhibit on display in the Conoco Art Gallery in the Student Union until March 4. This exhibit showcases the accomplishments of three renowned individuals from Oklahoma’s history who had vision for greater opportunity and equality for themselves and others. Their accomplishments opened doors and opened minds; their influence reached beyond their generations and their mortal lives. This thought provoking display really should be experienced by all. In addition, the OSUIT Library has a display highlighting African-American authors, history, and prominent figures.

We also believe that one of the best ways to understand a culture is by sampling the cuisine of that culture. So, the Cowboy Café in the Student Union has been featuring “Soul Food Thursdays” throughout the month of February. Each week, they are offering the great foods that represent the southern culture of Black Americans. The OSUIT School of Culinary Arts is also offering a distinctive menu in honor of Black History Month. They held a special Black History Buffet early in the month that included a wide variety of foods that represent the culture of Black Americans, and all month long, the State Room and Tech Room are serving up the mouthwatering recipes of celebrated OSUIT culinary alumnus, Chef Jennifer Hill Booker.

Additionally, there are quite a few Black History Month activities that are intended solely for the pleasure and edification of our students and staff members. For instance, the OSUIT Student Life Department has been conducting a Black History Month Facebook Quiz. This is not only a great way to raise cultural awareness, but students are having fun in the process with prizes for those who score 100% on the quiz. Likewise, the OSUIT Diversity Committee is hosting a book club for employees with this month’s selection, How to Be Black by Baratunde Thurston. Plus, the Residential Life department is showing a variety of free movies through “Res Life TV” showcasing the heroes and history of Black Americans with student led discussion groups about the movies being conducted by the Residence Halls Association.

Thank you and please continue to forward me your questions about OSUIT to osuit-president@okstate.edu.