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Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

The student news site of the University of Northern Iowa

Northern Iowan

A Night of Celebration and Gratitude: Toast for Change 2024

Chiquita+Loveless+speaks+at+Black+Student+Unions+Toast+for+Change+event+Thursday+evening.
MAHEDI ISLAM
Chiquita Loveless speaks at Black Student Unions “Toast for Change” event Thursday evening.

On the evening of Thursday, Feb. 29, the Maucker Union Ballroom A transformed into a haven of celebration and gratitude as the Black Student Union hosted their annual Toast for Change event, marking the culmination of a month-long celebration of Black History Month. This event is a time to acknowledge and thank the dedicated individuals who contributed to the successful programming of this year’s Black History Month. The ballroom underwent a stunning transformation, draped in elegant black and gold decor that set the perfect backdrop for the night’s festivities. The space buzzed with excitement as students, university leadership, and staff and faculty from across campus filled nearly every seat.

The agenda for the night unfolded with powerful reflections from Randy Whitfield and Celia Emunah, the president and vice president of the Black Student Union. Chiquita Loveless, the Director of Diversity Inclusion and Social Justice, and BSU advisor, left a lasting impression with her inspiring words drawn from the book ‘What If There Were No Black Folks.’

Guest speaker Lexi Gause, former BSU president, provided a testament to the resilience and possibilities of Black students at UNI.

“In these moments of doubt and exhaustion, it’s crucial to remember the power that resides within you. Embrace your heritage, your history, and the resilience of those who came before you. Challenge the norms, defy expectations, and never underestimate your potential to effect change. Despite the obstacles, know that you are not alone,” Gause said.

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  • Black Student Union (BSU) hosted their end-of-year gala complete with a nice dinner for the attendees.

  • Gala attendees grab food before the gala program begins.

  • The table setting for Black Student Union’s gala.

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Students from across campus were recognized and awarded for their unwavering support for the Black Student Union and their commitment and participation in BSU and its programming. The evening’s festivities were guided by Eboni Springfield, who served as the emcee, infusing the event with energy and enthusiasm. Laughter, clapping, music and conversation filled every corner of the ballroom, creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere that resonated with everyone in attendance.

Attendees indulged in delicious food, visually stunning photo opportunities, and arrived dressed in their best attire, truly bringing together a night to remember. As the night drew to a close, the room united in a collective toast for change, a powerful symbol of the ongoing commitment to positive transformation. These moments of community and gratitude are the essence of hope and determination for the future. From the lingering feeling of community and inspiration even beyond the physical event, it is clear that this tradition is more than a celebration; it is a commitment to positive change and a brighter future for all.

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About the Contributors
EBONI SPRINGFIELD, Staff Writer
Eboni is in her first year as a communication major master’s student. She graduated in Spring 2022 with a bachelor’s in public relations. The stories she wants to cover are multicultural and DIS on campus. She is involved on campus as an Admission Graduate Assistant and at the Black Student Union.
MAHEDI ISLAM, Photographer

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