The UNITY Project: Forming a Canopy of Interconnectedness

November 20, 2016

Compelled to counter the divisiveness, negativity and bigotry of our country’s national political conversation, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Psychology, Division for Inclusive Excellence, and Partnership for People with Disabilities at the School of Education, are partnering to launch UNITY, a public interactive art project from Thursday, November 17 through Sunday, November 20. This event will be held from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, is open to the VCU and RVA community, and will take place in front of the James Branch Cabell Library (902 Park Avenue) at the VCU Monroe Park Campus.

The UNITY event at VCU will offer a circular arrangement of poles; each pole labeled with an identifier. For example: I’m a parent, I speak English as a Second Language, I identify as LGBTQ, etc.  With yarn, participants connect to the poles they identify with, forming a canopy of interconnectedness that grows as more people participate.  Unity celebrates the unique individual and raises awareness of how labels impact our perceptions and interactions with the world.

Everyone is invited to participate in this event to help change the tone of our national conversation and encourage a renewed spirit of optimism, camaraderie and respect.  One especially significant goal is to prompt unitive leadership as we move toward and beyond the November 2016 elections, for campuses and communities around the country.

UNITY is part of Nancy Belmont’s #WeLiveBig initiative to promote human flourishing. Learn more about the project here.

We’d love to have a few extra pairs of hands!  Do you have a few hours to spend helping others create our web of interconnectedness?  Sign up for a time slot in this form - the first 40 volunteers receive a free UNITY t-shirt (available sizes may be limited).

Please contact Jen Elswick at or (804) 828-1195 for more information. 

Celebration of 40 years of LGBTQ Activism at VCU closes with Billie Jean King

October 27, 2016

Closing the month long celebration of 40 years of LGBTQ Activism at Virginia Commonwealth University, tennis icon and equality advocate Billie Jean King urges everyone to be their authentic selves.  Read more here.

This historic event was organized by the Humanities Research Center in the College of Humanities and Sciences, and co-sponsored by the Office of the President, the Division for Inclusive Excellence, the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences, Equity and Access Services, the Division of Student Affairs, VCU Athletics, the VCU Libraries, VCU Alumni Rainbow Rams, the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies, and Sciences, and Equality VCU. 

The President’s Forum on Social Justice Draws Hundreds

October 13, 2016

The President’s Forum on Social Justice attracted approximately 500 students, faculty and staff to discuss local, national and global concerns, and offer insight and ideas for solutions.
Discussion with President Michael Rao, forum moderator Kevin Allison, Ph.D., and speakers representing both campus and community entities, included such issues as gentrification, law enforcement, discrimination and Islamophobia.
Recommended actions from the forum will be submitted to the President’s Action Group on Diversity and Inclusion.  Read more here.

The Intersection of Health & Politics: A Community Forum with Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Dr. Louis W. Sullivan

October 6, 2016

The James River Valley (VA) Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, will host a provocative forum with two history-making, renowned speakers; Governor L. Douglas Wilder and Dr. Louis W. Sullivan.
This public event will take place at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center on the campus of Virginia Union University on Monday, October 10, 2016 from 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm., and includes a reception with the speakers. This is a FREE community service event.   For additional information visit the James River Valley Links website:

National Conflict Resolution Day 2016 at VCU

October 6, 2016

Join the VCU Office of the Ombudsperson for National Conflict Resolution Day on October 20, 2016 in the University Student Commons, Richmond Salons I and II, from 8:30 a.m. – 12 noon. 

National Conflict Resolution Day is a global event to promote the concept of peaceful conflict resolution. This event includes a panel discussion featuring VCU leadership, as well as a keynote address by Sean Banks, Director of Ombuds Services and Corporate Ombuds at Shell Oil Company. Banks will present Matters of Perspective: The Potential Role of Conflict Resolution in the INCLUSION (R)EVOLUTION. This event is free and open to the public.  Learn more and register online:  View the flyer here:  National Conflict Resolution Day 2016.
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