Students and faculty gathered Thursday evening to hear from executives in the information technology industry about the status of LGBTQ acceptance in corporate America.

More than 200 people packed into Chrysler Center’s Chesebrough Auditorium, many wearing bright orange t-shirts with the question “Who are you?” inscribed on the back and a space for participants to respond on the front.

Own It, a group striving to challenge the College of Engineering’s community on issues of acceptance and bias, organized the event.

Engineering graduate student Nick Clift, a member of Own It, gave an introductory speech, his orange shirt reading, “I am proud of my sexuality.” He shared his experiences growing up gay in the small town of Adrian, Mich., and fearing rejection from his friends and family.

Clift was positive about the inclusiveness of LGBTQ students in Engineering, but said the college needs to have a meaningful dialogue.

“Because we don’t have many people who are studying or involved in subjects like sociology, we’re not talking enough about the issues at hand,” Clift said. “There are great people who care, but we need to do a better job at showing we care.”

Keynote speakers for the event included Engineering Dean David C. Munson, Stephenie Landry, director of the Amazon Baby store, and Ed Seaberg, vice president of IT Operations for Rockwell Automation.

While Munson didn’t have a prepared speech, he discussed his appreciation for the event.

“I think the central tenet for tonight is that everybody here ought to just be the way they are and be accepted that way,” Munson said. “And that is certainly what we want in the College of Engineering.”

Landry, a Business School alum, said she has never felt alienated during her 10 years at Amazon due to her identity as a lesbian. She shared anecdotes of valuable bonding and learning experiences among employees of varying characteristics, including a clip of the office partaking in the Harlem Shake dance.

Seaberg offered the perspective of an openly gay executive at an international company making concerted efforts to ensure the comfort and safety of LGBTQ employees. In August of 2013, Seaberg facilitated the birth of ROKout, his company’s LGBTQ allies affinity group.

Struggling to hold back tears, Seaberg described the troubles that one of his employees faced working in a country where homosexuality is illegal. The employee’s partner had moved to the United Kingdom, and the feeling of isolation was so disconcerting that the employee considered leaving the company.

Seaberg facilitated counseling and advice for the employee, who he eventually offered a job in the UK. He stressed the importance of encouraging more youth to become engineers, regardless of their sexuality, so that they can spur diversity — and subsequently innovation.

Accompanying Seaberg was Jeff McGee, a Rockwell sales manager and the company’s recruiter at the University. He spoke as an ally of the LGBTQ community, stressing the role that allies play in facilitating change and providing support for those struggling with discrimination.

“Have those conversations, have good intent always, and seek to learn… be an ally in a variety of ways,” McGee said.

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