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Saturday, September 23, 2023

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This month, SDSU will celebrate its annual DiverseAbility Awareness Month with a series of campus programs and events. This month, SDSU will celebrate its annual DiverseAbility Awareness Month with a series of campus programs and events.

Embracing a Culture of Abilities

Disability culture takes center stage this October in recognition of DiverseAbility Awareness Month at SDSU.
By Mallory Black

This October, San Diego State University will celebrate its annual DiverseAbility Awareness Month with a series of campus programs to promote the diverse culture and abilities of people with disabilities.

In partnership with the Committee for Enhancing Campus Culture and Climate for Persons of Varying Abilities at SDSU, Student Disability Services — in collaboration with the One SDSU Community initiative, campus departments and student groups — will host several events to encourage students to question what it means to have a disability and look at disabilities from a different perspective.

While many universities celebrate the month of October as Disability Awareness Month, Student Disability Services Director Pamela J. Starr said the intentional use of the term "DiverseAbility" at SDSU serves a greater purpose.

“The use of ‘DiverseAbility’ expands beyond those with disabilities and becomes inclusive of those who do not identify as having a disability yet are a part of this diverse community,” Starr said. “This month-long series of programs brings attention to individuals with diverse abilities, their identity, culture and history.”

At SDSU, nearly 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students receive assistance through Student Disability Services, which accommodates students with disabilities including visual, hearing and communication impairments, learning disabilities, and mobility and functional limitations. SDSU further sheds light on both visible and invisible disabilities and disability culture through events and programs held throughout the year.

Rachel Schlesinger, SDSU’s Student Disability Services program coordinator graduate assistant, said while talking about disabilities can make some people uncomfortable, it is important to push beyond those barriers so all members of the SDSU community get the support they need.

“With these events, we hope more people will take the opportunity to educate themselves about the different types of disabilities and change how they perceive disabilities,” Schlesinger said. “Most people assume that having a disability means that it’s a physical or visible disability, but that’s not necessarily the case. Learning disabilities make up the majority of the cases in our office, and it’s important to learn about the experiences of these individuals.”

Upcoming DiverseAbility Awareness events:

DiverseAbility Awareness Kickoff and Therapy Pony
11 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday, Oct. 3, North Library Walkway

Stop by the Student Disability Services table along North Library Walkway to receive more information about the month’s events and activities, and to meet a trained therapy pony.

Resource and Information Fair
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 13, Centennial Walkway

Several campus and community organizations will set up tables to provide information about disabilities and resources including group and volunteer opportunities.

ADA Awareness, in partnership with Society of American Military Engineers
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 18, Campanile Walkway

Join the Society of American Military Engineers on Campanile Walkway to promote awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and ADA-accessible buildings and routes on campus.

DiverseAbility Pop-up Art Show, in partnership with Arts Alive SDSU
10 a.m.-2 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20, North Library Walkway

SDSU students will showcase their artwork to express the diversity of disability culture at the SDSU Farmers Market.

Film Screening: “The Rebound,” in partnership with One SDSU Community

6-8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 26, Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Theatre

This documentary tells the story of the Miami Heat Wheels, a wheelchair basketball team in a quest for a national title. This story offersing a visceral portrait of the athletes’ journey to realize their dreams while facing life’s biggest challenges.

More information about the resources provided through Student Disability Services is available on the department’s website. Current students in need of accommodations on campus are encouraged to connect with Student Disability Services in Calpulli Center, Suite 3101 or by calling 619-594-6473.