This Thursday at the 2014 Annual Student Awards Banquet, YSUnity will receive the Orion Award for Outstanding Student Organization.
The award recognizes an exceptional student organization for its leadership and service to the university during the school year. Last year, the award went to the YSU Pharmacy Association.
Throughout this academic year YSUnity has organized a multitude of events including, the Day of Silence, a Diversity Prom, the Annual Drag Show and the Coming Out Week.
“I think it’s an honor for YSUnity to win, especially for an organization this small that has grown so much over the last few years. We have had a roller coaster ride of enrollment and we are definitely back to where we should be,” said Tim Bortner, vice president of YSUnity.
The group goes through a fluctuation of members, Bortner explained — a struggle many student organizations go through as the academic year comes to a close.
Although members come and go throughout the year, the YSUnity board has managed to plan events and has garnered positive attention for the YSUnity community.
“We’ve actually won multiple awards this academic year,” Bortner said.
Lisa Ronquillo, the president of YSUnity, and Bortner won the Edna K. McDonald Cultural Awareness Award for their many contributions to the cultural diversity of the YSU campus.
Ronquillo will also receive the Presidential Mentor award at the Student Awards banquet.
Bortner and Ronquillo will be running for each other’s positions in the next election. Bortner hopes to become YSUnity’s next president, and said he will continue to strive for equality across campus.
But Bortner’s efforts extend beyond campus.
“I’m a vendor coordinator for the Pride Youngstown Parade, P-Flag, I work with the Mahoning County Pride Center, Pennsylvania Organization for Marriage Equality. I work with all sorts of organizations throughout the community, so not only am I doing [YSUnity] but I am also trying to work with these other groups,” Bortner said.
Bortner is able to find a balance between school, work, and his personal life while remaining a confidant for students who need advice in the LGBTQIA community.
Though YSUnity is not a counseling service, Bortner said he is always willing to help those struggling with their sexuality.
“We always state right off the bat we are not counselors, but we can tell you from personal experiences what we can help you out with, and we can get them in touch with P-Flag, which works with families. They will sit down with the family and help you through this,” Bortner said.