The Center for Equity and Inclusion hosted the Disability Awareness Resource Fair Nov. 21 in the Jane Russell Commons. Their goal was to provide students with more information about disability resources and opportunities such as help with schoolwork, getting a job, gaining work experience and traveling abroad.
Event organizer Malinda Osborn of the Center for Equity and Inclusion said she was happy that such a resource fair could exist to inform students.
“We wanted students to know that there were these options and information available to them,” Osborn said. “We decided to host the fair now because we figured more students would be settled in and comfortable and want to explore different opportunities presented on the campus. October was National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and while it is the middle of November, it is never too late to make sure students have access to the resources they need.”
Both on-campus and off campus organizations were present at the fair to hand out information on potential options for student with disabilities. For instance, the Teaching and Learning Center talked about how they work with all students and can make special accommodations for students with learning and physical impairments. The TLC believes that events such as this fair can increase diversity, awareness and inclusion, which is one of their core values that they strive towards.
The Office of Global Affairs promoted possibilities for students to study abroad. Autumn Diaz, representative for Global Affairs, stated that money and disabilities do not limit the possibility to study abroad.
“Physical, mental, and financial limitations should not discourage students from studying abroad, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures,” Diaz said.
Another group in attendance was the Center for Independence. Founded in 1981, CFI is a non-profit organization committed to serving as a resource for those who may struggle with disabilities. Through outreach, support groups, workshops, advocacy and transitional services, the CFI help people actively participate in their communities when they would not otherwise be able to do so.
Also at the fair was the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, which helps people with disabilities create goals to obtain and maintain jobs which work to their own strengths. They provide equal access to services. The DVR is ran by the Department of Social and Health Services — a department of the Washington State government. The DVR focuses on the individual and assists them in choosing a line of vocational work which best suits their skills.
Groups such as the Hearing, Speech, and Deaf Center and the Aging and Disability Resource Center offered provided information on resources and raised awareness for different kinds of disabilities.
“It is important that these resources exist,” Osborn said. “Nothing should hold a student back from achieving their goals.