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### Unifying for Graduate Education in 2024 at University of Nevada, Reno

In 2020, the University of Nevada, Reno faced challenges due to the onset of Covid-19, particularly impacting community gatherings for various organizations. Among these, the Graduate Student Association (GSA) bore the brunt, especially in organizing large-scale community events like “Unity in Diversity” (UiD). UiD, an annual gathering facilitated by the GSA, aims to foster unity by promoting understanding and appreciation of cultural distinctions. The significance of diversity is underscored by the representation of graduate students from a minimum of 61 different countries, a testament to the rich tapestry of our student body. The GSA prides itself on cultivating connections among students through diverse clubs catering to academic pursuits, identities, hobbies, ethnicities, and cultures. However, it is the yearly UiD event that serves as a cornerstone, uniting individuals to acknowledge and celebrate their differences. This occasion holds immense importance for the GSA as it not only highlights the diversity on campus but also within the local Reno-Sparks community.

Fortunately, the previous year witnessed the triumphant comeback of UiD post the disruptions caused by the pandemic. UiD 2023 took place at the Joe Crowley Student Union, Gateway Plaza on April 22, coinciding with Earth Day. Aligning with the University’s “Wolf Pack Rising” 2023 – 2027 Strategic Plan Goal 5 of promoting sustainability (“making Silver & Blue the New Green”), UiD 2023 expanded its focus to include raising environmental awareness and advocating for a more sustainable impact on the Earth. The event featured an array of inspiring performances, encompassing over 33 acts from community members and university entities. Distinguished speakers such as Nevada System of Higher Education Regents Carol Del Carlo & Jeffrey Downs, Reno’s Chief Equity & Community Relations Officer Cynthia Esparza, and other notable figures graced the occasion. Councilwoman Naomi Duerr from the City of Reno even bestowed the GSA with an official proclamation in honor of Earth Day.

The event not only succeeded in fundraising for graduate student scholarships but also managed to raise funds for organizations like Great Basin Resource Watch & River Justice, both indigenous-led entities advocating for environmental causes. The GSA expressed gratitude towards these organizations for their unwavering support and dedication to the community. The event’s success was further bolstered by the generous contributions from internal sponsors including President Sandoval, the Provost’s Office, the College of Science, the College of Liberal Arts, and the University Libraries, alongside community donors such as Men’s Apparel, Mesa Rim, Peppermill Resort Casino, Grand Sierra Resort, and Jada Loft Boutique. With the collaborative efforts of dedicated volunteers, GSA members, the Graduate Student Alumni Chapter (GSAC), and others, Unity in Diversity was successfully reignited!

The upcoming program for this year promises to be a vibrant celebration of culture and diversity, featuring live performances, a silent auction, and a delectable selection of local cuisines representing various ethnicities and cultures. UiD 2024 is set to showcase a diverse lineup of speakers, university and local community clubs, organizations, non-profits, businesses, vendors, and sponsors.

Mark your calendars for this year’s event on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., hosted at Nightingale Concert Hall & Church Fine Arts Foyer on the University of Nevada, Reno campus. Detailed information and the event program can be found on our . Ticket pricing offers two options: free entry with a University ID or GSAC membership, and General Admission at $10, with all proceeds dedicated to supporting student scholarships. Due to venue capacity limitations, securing your ticket in advance is advisable. Stay updated on all UiD 2024 program releases by following us on social media and Eventbrite.

To replicate last year’s fundraising success, this year introduces a silent auction aimed at benefiting graduate student scholarships. GSA’s programming heavily relies on funding from graduate student fees, supporting a wide array of programs and services such as scholarships, club assistance, workshops, and social events. With the escalating costs of tuition, services, and housing, graduate students are facing financial challenges ahead, appealing to the university and local community for support. The online silent auction, facilitated by , offers a platform to bid on various items with the auction closing promptly at 7 p.m. on March 13. Winners will be announced at the event’s conclusion, with all proceeds contributing directly to graduate programming. Additionally, direct support for graduates is encouraged through a .

Let’s join forces to make a difference in the lives of graduate students. We look forward to your presence at Unity in Diversity 2024!

About the authors

Allison Ferguson: Hailing from Alabama, Allison completed her B.S. in Human Services/Criminal Justice at Troy University and her M.S. in Justice Management at the University of Nevada, Reno in 2017. Currently pursuing a M.S. in Elementary Education, Allison has been an integral part of the Graduate Student Association since 2016.

Taissa Lytchenko: Starting her academic journey at Truckee Meadows Community College, Taissa earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2017. Presently, she serves as the External Vice President of the Graduate Student Association and Representative of the College of Science.