By Daisy Talbert
Of the approximately 800 students who attend New College, more than 200 have registered with the office of Student Disability Services (SDS). That’s almost one in four New College students, so, first things first, if you identify with any form of “disability,” you are not alone!
On March 28, SDS presented Part II of the Celebration of Colors event, aimed at raising awareness and recognition of students with disabilities. Part I of the activity, held March 26 in the Ham Center, encouraged students to identify their disability, or a family member’s, with a corresponding colored ribbon. It encouraged students to share their personal thoughts based on the statement, “I will not allow my disability to stop me from ____” via a poster.
Students discussed a variety of topics in the areas of physical and mental health. Part II of the Celebration of Colors allowed students to further explore their struggles with disability in a safe space, surrounded by compassionate people who can relate to their issues.
“This event gave students an outlet … to speak on their disability [and] to show … that disabilities exist and they’re not trying to cover it up,” said Kesha Jackson, the office manager for Student Success Programs. We want [students] to be comfortable in their own skin and to know that it’s OK if you’re not able to do some things other people can.”
Assistant Director of Student Disability Services Ruthann Daniel-Harties agreed. “[Because] you do something in a different way,” she said, “doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it just means you do it your way.” She also shared plans for future events to raise awareness about students with disabilities on campus.
“Students have access to a number of resources on campus,” she continued. “We’re looking to have some sort of event every couple of months… In October, the plan is to have… larger events [connected to Disability Empowerment Month].”
The poster and ribbons will remain in the Ham Center through the first week of April. Students who have a disability or are encountering difficulties that may require special accommodations, can contact Student Disability Services at email@example.com, 941-487-4496, or visit the team in HCL 3 during business hours. All meetings are kept confidential.
— Daisy Talbert is an intern at the Office of Communications and Marketing.