VCU's UNITY public art project hosts opening ceremony at Cabell Library

President Dr. Michael Rao kicked off VCU's UNITY public art project today, an interactive exhibit designed to unite the university's students and celebrate their diversity.

Co-sponsored by the Partnership for People with Disabilities at the School of Education, the Department of Psychology and the Division for Inclusive Excellence, the UNITY project encourages members of the university community to identify themselves by wrapping yarn around poles marked with signs, such as "I consider myself a Republican", "I identify as LGBTQIA" or "I speak English as a second language."

These trails of yarn begin to build on each other, weaving an elaborate web that serves as a visual representation of VCU's diversity.

"We really want to celebrate what makes us unique, but also realize how much we have in common," Deana Buck, a program specialist at the Partnership for People with Disabilities who played a key role in creating this event, said. "We wanted to make it a safe place to be open and have conversations — because if you can't do that at a university, where can you?"

Other attendees at the UNITY project opening included Dr. Diane Simon, senior associate dean of student affairs for the VCU School of Education; Dr. Kevin Allison, interim vice president for inclusive excellence; and police chief John Venuti.

The project will run until Sunday, Nov. 20. The VCU community is invited to participate in the exhibit, currently displayed outside Cabell Library, and document their experience by using the hashtags #UNITY and #WeLiveBig on social media.

To see more images from this event, please visit our Facebook photo gallery.