Ensuring that all students, faculty and staff with disabilities, both visible and invisible, are provided with equal opportunities to fully avail themselves of all that Vanderbilt University has to offer is the aim of a new campaign launching with a celebration at the Student Life Center Oct. 4 from 3 to 5 p.m.
Launched by the Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence in partnership with the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Dean of Students, the campaign, titled InclusAbility, combines “inclusion” and “disability” to acknowledge and celebrate the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual by bringing awareness to the multiplicity of disabilities within our community.
“Students, staff and faculty with disabilities are an asset to the Vanderbilt community. InclusAbility is a campaign to ensure that these individuals are recognized, supported, celebrated, understood, and included,” said Melissa Thomas-Hunt, vice provost for inclusive excellence. “I am proud of our programming this year that is designed to foster conversation and awareness regarding disability identities and common issues that people with disabilities face. InclusAbility is already making a positive impact on campus, and I am excited to see all of Vanderbilt’s community members thrive.”
InclusAbility events will include intersectional and meaningful programming that will highlight all of the support services and resources available to Vanderbilt community members with disabilities. This campaign also will create intentional spaces for dialogue about how the university community can continue to foster an increased sense of inclusivity for people with disabilities.
“The full inclusion of staff, students and faculty with disabilities is a critical part of Vanderbilt’s commitment to fostering a university community that is welcoming and accessible to all,” said James Page Jr., vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. “We must ensure that this university is one where each individual is fully supported and provided with every opportunity to thrive on our campus. I am thrilled to partner with Vice Provost Thomas-Hunt on InclusAbility, and I look forward to seeing the positive impact that these efforts will have on our community.”
The campaign will commence Oct. 4 with an InclusAbility Launch Party from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Student Life Center Plaza. There will be free food, music, interactive activities and information on the many offices, departments and organizations both on and off campus that provide resources for students, faculty and staff with disabilities.
“Our aspiration to be a fully inclusive learning environment necessitates improvements in the way our community supports and addresses the needs of all of our students,” said Mark Bandas, associate provost and dean of students. “We want to create an academic community that demonstrates respect for people of all backgrounds and abilities and provides opportunities for all to flourish.”
The InclusAbility launch party will kick off both the campaign and several upcoming events during October, which is Disability Awareness Month, including film screenings, panel discussions, lectures and a community service opportunity. To learn more about InclusAbility, visit the Office for Inclusive Excellence website. To request accommodations for any of the campaign’s upcoming programs, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Student Life Center Plaza
Rain Location: Student Life Center Ballroom
Pizza and pops provided
Access Music City: Community service event
Kissam Multipurpose Room 210
The Paralympic Movement
Sponsored by the Sports and Society Initiative
11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Football Meeting Room, McGugin Center
Beyond Accommodations discussion
TIPs autism and innovation panel
IMPACT film series: Queer & Disabled
GME credit available
Keynote speaker: Jonathan Kaufman
Student Life Center Ballroom
Other related events are also planned throughout the academic year. Co-sponsors for InclusAbility initiatives include: Office of the Vice Provost for Inclusive Excellence; Office of the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion; Office of the Dean of Students; and Empower Tennessee.