Part of creating an inclusive community means taking the time to understand individuals who are different. 

Virginia Tech's University ADA Services and University Libraries have joined forces to educate students, employees, and community members about how they can demonstrate respect, comfort, and awareness for others.

The interactive, traveling exhibit, "Allies for Inclusion: The Ability Exhibit," will be on display in Virginia Tech's Newman Library, second floor commons area, from Oct. 1-7. The opening reception will be held Oct. 1 from 10 a.m.-noon at the library, 560 Drillfield Drive in Blacksburg.

All students, employees, and community members are invited to attend the exhibit and the reception. Registration is required for the reception. Individuals with a disability who desire an accommodation should contact Katryn Stewart at 540-231-2850 by September 15 at 5 p.m. Directions and parking information are available online.

The training includes a range of interactive activities to engage participants as well as discussions about disability-related topics including person-first language, universal design, and the disability movement. Upon completion of the training, participants can choose to display an Ability Ally placard at their work space or wear a wristband identifying them as an Ability Ally.

On October 5, 6, and 7, there will be informal 15-minute presentations about a variety of topics including accessible spaces on campus and accessible teaching strategies as well as resources available through the university's Assistive Technologies unit.

"By hosting the Allies for Inclusion exhibit, we hope we can encourage the community to join us in becoming better allies to those with disabilities as we endeavor to better serve our patrons, users, and employees," said Tyler Walters, dean of University Libraries.

The Allies for Inclusion: Ability Exhibit was created by the St. Louis University College of Education and Public Service. 

Each October, University ADA Services in the Department of Human Resources hosts an event to celebrate National Disability Employment Awareness Month and highlight the university's commitment to build and maintain a culture of inclusion and diversity.

National Disability Employment Awareness Month is a national campaign sponsored by the Department of Labor designed to raise awareness concerning disability employment issues.

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