Get glamorous ‘One Moment In Time’

Guests posing for a photo at the 2023 DEI Gala. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

By Matthew Sotlar

Youngstown State University’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion will host its second YESS Gala at 6 p.m. on Feb. 10 at Mr. Anthony’s Banquet Hall in Boardman.

The YESS Institute, also known as the YSU Enrichment Summer Scholastic Institute, hosts a three-week readiness program every summer for first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students. The YESS Gala fundraises for the program. 

A pamplet about the YESS Institute at the 2023 DEI Gala. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

Susan Moorer, assistant director for the Office of DEI, said YESS helps incoming students get used to their new surroundings at YSU.

“Incoming freshmen are housed here on campus. They stay in one of the dorms. They have the opportunity to learn about the university. To become acclimated to the university, we introduce them to faculty members, they get to learn about different curriculums,” Moorer said.

In addition to providing a readiness program, YESS holds various events geared toward student interaction.

“We incorporate all kinds of cultural and experiential learning experiences for the students. We’ve taken them on various field trips. We’ve taken them to the National Museum of African American History … bowling … the movies, we’ve done all types of wonderful trips and experiences with the students,” Moorer said.

The YESS Gala was previously known as the DEI Gala. Moorer said the name was changed to focus more on the YESS Institute.

“We’re trying to raise funds just to offset the cost of the [YESS] program because it’s expensive to have students stay on campus for three weeks to be able to take them on wonderful experiences, engaging them throughout the community and Youngstown State,” Moorer said.

This year’s gala theme is One Moment In Time. Before it starts, a social hour will begin at 5 p.m. Moorer said there will be a basket raffle and music provided by The Michael Austin Project. 

The Michael Austin Project at the 2023 DEI Gala. Photo by Molly Burke / The Jambar

“During the program, we have sponsors and we’ll be recognizing the sponsors. We have a band, which will provide the entertainment … we will also have a wonderful basket auction. So, [the gala is] an opportunity again for people to get very nice items and be able to engage with each other,” Moorer said. 

The gala will also feature a tribute to the late Carol Bennett, former provost for the Office of DEI. 

Carol Bennett speaking at the 2023 DEI Gala.

According to Moorer, there was a lack of volunteers to work at last year’s gala. Moorer said there are enough this year as students and members of the YESS Institute will be volunteering.

“There will be more actually participating in the gala because [YESS Institute members] will be serving as volunteers,” Moorer said. “They’ll be helping to set up, helping decorate, helping take things down, helping as greeters [and] taking people to their seats.”

So far, 272 tickets have been sold for the gala. Moorer estimates there will be over 300 attendees. 

Tickets are on sale online until Feb. 2. The event requires formal attire.