From the diversity awards last year (left to right) George Gallien, director of the URI Multicultural Student Services Center; Naomi Thomas, chief diversity officer; Tracey Dalton, presenter and professor of marine affairs; URI President David Dooley; Amelia Moore, Faculty Excellence Award winner; Donald H. DeHayes, Provost. Photo by Michael Salerno.

The University of Rhode Island Multicultural Student Services Center will be hosting their 21st annual Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Awards Banquet in April to celebrate and honor those who demonstrated diversity in the community.

Nominations for the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Awards closed last night and committee members will soon begin looking over the nominations of students, faculty and administration.

Eight awards will be given, including Undergraduate Student Award for Academic Excellence; Undergraduate Student Award for Community Excellence; Student Organization Excellence Award; Graduate Student Excellence Award; Staff/Administrative Excellence Award; Faculty Excellence Award; College/Departement/Unit Excellence Award and Lifetime Achievement Award.

The Director of URI’s Multicultural Student Services Center (MSCC), George Gallien, said that although they are unable to predict how many nominations they will receive, they like to have a few for each award.

“It varies every year but we try to have at least two to three nominees in every category and we encourage people to nominate other people,” Gallien said.

Now that nominations have closed, Gallien said a team of judges will review all the nominations and score each nominee. “We have a committee of about 10 people and we follow a rubric,” said Gallien.

Assistant Director of URI’s MSSC, Emmitt Wyche III, will be on the committee board this year for the first time and he is excited to be a part of the process and to be able to view all of the nominee’s accomplishments.

“So far I have been very impressed by the caliber of people nominated,” Wyche said. “The pool is very competitive and to be awarded is an honor. Even to receive a nominated is very impactful and speaks to the nominee.”

Wyche believes that the annual diversity awards speaks volumes for the campus and community. He also said he thinks they build the knowledge and practice of diversity on campus, as well as help to promote inclusiveness.

“To see the breadth of the people and what they’re doing is eye-opening and builds the culture of diversity,” Wyche said.

Wyche said that the committee takes a holistic view of the nominees in order to award the most deserving person of the award. “Everyone on the committee is from different backgrounds which encourages people to look at the nominees from a more colorful and textured lense,” Wyche said.

The banquet will be held on April 17 at 6 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom and any members of the URI community who wish to attend can register for free until April 1.

Gallien said that all of the winners, nominees and their family and friends are invited and welcome to attend the awards ceremony.

“Last year over 150 people showed up,” Gallien said. “We’re hoping for a nice turnout this year.”

Anyone was able to nominate any individual or group they believe is worthy for the award by filling a Google form. Those who nominated people were required to choose which award category they are nominating them for and write six short responses which provide the committee of judges with the main sources of information on the nominee.

These questions include: Why did you choose to nominate this person or organization; how has the nominee’s/organization’s contributions made a positive impact on diversity and inclusion in the University community; describe how the nominee’s contributions align with the diverse perspectives goals; how have the nominee’s contributions aligned with the general education outcomes and how has the nominee or group made a significant contribution while working to build a supportive and inclusive community across the boundaries of culture, identity, and discipline.