On June 26, this period of reunions and re-emergence was also a time for introductions,
as Michigan Tech’s 1st Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion (VPDI) satisfied with
Detroit place alumni and mates.

Wayne Gersie, VPDI at Michigan Technological College, attended the African-American
Alumni Affiliation (A4) once-a-year picnic in Detroit. Also there have been Michigan Tech Board
of Trustees Chair
Brenda Ryan ’76 Board of Trustees member Derhun D. Sanders ’97 and Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, supervisor of World Engagement Packages at MTU’s Pavlis Honors College or university and Michigan Group Services Fee member.

Michigan Tech’s incoming Dean of College students Wallace Southerland III was also on hand,
alongside with 5 possible learners and their families, two present learners, and
13 alumni and their families.

The picnic was originally established for the Detroit Riverwalk, but was shifted downtown
to Greektown simply because of weather conditions (Huskies are very little if not flexible). As constantly,
it was a time to pull out photograph albums and reminisce — and to welcome new and possible
Huskies to the fold. 

A group of Michigan Technological University Black alumni and prospective students pose for a group shot in front of a brick wall in Detroit's Greektown.
Huskies renew friendships and make new mates at the once-a-year picnic. (Image credit score:
Paige Quick)


An older woman talks with a younger man in a wooden restaurant booth with iron-scrolled black grilling behind them.
MTU Board of Trustees Chair Brenda Ryan talks with Jimmie Cannon ’20.

Morris mentioned A4 grew to become considerably less lively about ten several years in the past. “Some of us, together with Doris
Strong, felt strongly about relaunching the once-a-year picnic, which we did 4 or 5
several years in the past,” she mentioned. As a previous
regional admissions supervisor (RAM) for Tech, Morris appreciates how crucial it is for possible Huskies and their
families to see acquainted faces in their possess local community and in Houghton. 

Strong, who graduated in 1997, is no stranger to parenting MTU Huskies. She’s mom
to equally a new graduate (who starts master’s studies in the tumble) and an incoming
1st-calendar year university student.

“The A4 picnic is significant simply because learners get began building their communities
early,” Strong mentioned. “You get to meet up with new faces that you may perhaps not see on campus in any other case.
Your children start off to meet up with and sort a household and establish their local community now, just before
they journey so far absent from you.”

Morris mentioned she and Strong have been pleased with the engagement among the team of 34.

“Students and their families want to meet up with men and women who have absent by way of the encounter,”
she mentioned. “I know how quite a few uncertainties I experienced. Just about anything we can do to simplicity that —
a mentor from their major, possible learners who can hook up with their peers,
mothers and fathers who can make connections and discover methods — the levels of encounter are
all crucial.”

VPDI Motion Approach

Abide by the site, discover methods and stay connected to efforts to foster and manage
a feeling of belonging in the Michigan Tech local community by using the
VPDI web site.

Gersie appreciated everyone’s participation in the party, which he mentioned lays a robust
foundation for the ongoing methods readily available to learners by way of the MTU campus
local community and alumni community.

Five people stand in a restaurant near a pizza table with others sitting in the background with wood-finished walls and many wearing Michigan Technological University Huskies t-shirts and other swag at the African American Alumni Association annual picnic in Detroit.
From remaining, Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, Doris Strong ’97, Cornelius Strong ’97, present
Tech university student Jailynn Johnson (chemistry), and MTU Vice President for Diversity and
Inclusion Wayne Gersie hold out with other Huskies in downtown Detroit’s Greektown.
The once-a-year A4 picnic is normally held outside, but stormy June weather conditions ruled that

“Students and their mothers and fathers are here to know that when they come to Michigan Tech,
you will find a help method in put that is going to assist them matriculate correctly
by way of the procedure, offering care and making certain a feeling of belonging for them,” mentioned
Gersie. “If they you should not sense that, then the stress and anxiety and the sensation of impostor syndrome
can be heightened. But when they have the help to be productive and hook up with
mentors and methods, they can flip out like these alumni who are here sharing their

“Situations like A4 are crucial to serving to learners who are coming to Michigan Tech with
hopes and aspirations of having a degree, getting that degree and translating it into
improving upon their high quality of existence for on their own, their families and their communities.
It permits them to see and hear from purpose models who have now obtained, like our
alumni.”Wayne Gersie, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Morris mentioned for her, the reunion rejuvenates the commitment to fortify the bonds
among her hometown and Michigan Tech. 

“I am straight-up Detroit. I sense some amount of duty to maintain our alumni connected
to what is actually happening on campus.”Darnishia (Slade) Morris ’98, A4 Organizer

Board member and alumnus Sanders mentioned the downstate accumulating signifies a large amount to Huskies.
“Just simply because you you should not cross the bridge and do that five hundred-and-some-odd-mile travel isn’t going to
imply that you might be not as a lot in like with Michigan Tech as any other person,” he mentioned.
“And so, it is constantly superior to reconnect with alumni at this party.” The accumulating is
crucial for possible learners who have not frequented campus simply because they’re capable
to get a feeling of the Tech encounter by way of the impressive stories alumni share, Sanders

“This is a testomony to Michigan Tech and the name that the College has all
the way down here in the Detroit place of Michigan,” Sanders mentioned.

Raising outreach in the Detroit place is an crucial part of Michigan Tech’s mission.
In addition to traveling to with alumni, Gersie connected face-to-face with teams and
men and women he’s been actively functioning with due to the fact he arrived on campus in late 2020
— together with Bruce Ross of the Michigan Office of All-natural Methods, Mike Reed
of the Detroit Zoological Modern society, Lionel Bradford with the Greening of Detroit and
Robert Magee of the Engineering Modern society of Detroit (it was a welcome improve from Zoom

This is the past of a three-part Michigan Tech News collection on variety and inclusion
initiatives at Michigan Tech. Get news updates, discover methods and learn how you
can help initiatives for variety, inclusion and a feeling of belonging on the VPDI web site.

Michigan Technological College is a general public investigation college, home to much more than
7,000 learners from fifty four nations around the world. Founded in 1885, the College provides much more than
120 undergraduate and graduate degree applications in science and know-how, engineering,
forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and
social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway
and is just a handful of miles from Lake Top-quality.