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VCU distinguishes itself as being one of Virginia’s most diverse institutions of higher education. This project seeks to support and extend this wonderful attribute by encouraging a climate of equity and inclusiveness. If You Can, You Can creates a common platform and language in support of the university’s mission to address disparities concerning equality and inclusiveness, and provides a model that is useful in promoting all dimensions of diversity. In addition to developing this overarching model, Team Real Connections worked with the VCU Athletics department to implement a prototype program called “If you can play, you can play,” which promotes inclusivity for those in the LGBTQ community within athletics. That initiative is comprised of the following components: ● the production of a marketing video to introduce and promote the campaign ● the submission of the video to the national “You Can Play” project (http://youcanplayproject.org/) ● a survey assessing how VCU athletes perceive the current climate in athletics ● training sessions with athletic coaches and staff to promote awareness and advocacy for the LGBTQ community ● dissemination of posters, postcards, and wristbands to promote the campaign and publicize events ● programs in October (LGBTQ History Month) with speakers Pat Griffin and Hudson Taylor to bring further awareness to the importance of inclusivity ● promotion of the campaign and events at various athletic events The success of the prototype campaign demonstrates that If You Can, You Can has the potential to serve as a comprehensive platform for units around VCU who wish to promote inclusivity and equity along other dimensions of diversity. Ultimately, the team envisions a university-wide initiative that unites VCU in achieving its goal of becoming a premier urban research university where everyone is welcomed, supported, and valued.
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VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Publications