Virginia Tech will mark the first anniversary of its “Principles of Community” on Tuesday having made many positive steps to further foster and promote an inclusive and diverse campus environment.

It was one year ago when the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors formally endorsed the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, a statement that affirms the university's commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. Board members joined other university officials on March 14, 2005, to sign the document in a public ceremony following the board meeting held that afternoon. The Principles of Community had also been endorsed by President Charles W. Steger, the Faculty Senate, Staff Senate, Student Government Association (representing undergraduate students), the Graduate Student Assembly, the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and the university's Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity.

“It serves as a constant reminder that we must be diligent and committed to fulfilling the objective of the principles of community,” said Sam Easterling, professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering and former Faculty Senate representative to the board of trustees. “The expectations of all should be an open, inclusive and civil environment and to treat one another as such. I was and continue to be proud to have been able to sign this document on behalf of the faculty.”

“To me, the principles of community exemplify the ways we should strive to be,” said Sue Ellen Crocker, office manager in Career Services and member of the Staff Senate. “It creates opportunities for others to grow in understanding and learning of one another. I was privileged and honored to be a signer of this great approach the university is taking.”

To mark this anniversary, the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs announce several university initiatives, including:

==> The introduction of the new Virginia Tech Principles of Community online resource center.

==> The release of a set of three posters--each poster includes the full listing of the principles and focuses on one of the three main affirmations.

==> Faculty and staff will be encouraged to mark the anniversary in their classes and work areas throughout the remainder of the semester. A letter was mailed to all university staff last week.

==> Presidents of registered student organizations will receive a copy of a new brochure “Virginia Tech Principles of Community within Student Organizations.” The publication was developed by students for students as part of a class project.

==> The donation of more than 30 books to University Libraries from Victory Over Violence. These books focus on the message of non-violence and peace as advocated by Gandhi and King. These books will be available for circulation in late April, and will be featured in a special display at Newman Library in early April.

In the year since the formal adoption of the Virginia Tech Principles of Community, the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs have undertaken several projects to further advance the principles among students, faculty, and staff. These include:

==> The Guide for the Use, Application and Promotion of the Principles of Community which is available for general campus use;

==> New undergraduate and graduate student, international student, and faculty and staff orientation programs now include discussions on the principles;

==> The principles of community have been translated into several languages, including Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Swahili;

==> The principles have been posted in administrative offices, athletic venues and other locations across campus, and are displayed throughout the state at the Extension centers, commonwealth centers and other Virginia Tech campuses;

==> Incorporation of the principles throughout university activities such as Martin Luther King Jr. celebrations, Campus Climate check-ups, and other events

==> The development of SafeWatch , a new university program that promotes an understanding of university policies and community expectations related to harassment, discrimination, or similar behaviors which a way to report instances when policies and expectations are not followed.

The Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Affairs welcome feedback on the Virginia Tech Principles of Community. Direct comments to Ray Plaza, chair of the Commission on Equal Opportunity and Diversity and project specialist for diversity initiatives at 231-7289.