Alliance for Disability Awareness club aims to educate during Disability Awareness Week


Alexandra Kelly/Iowa State Daily

Elizabeth Meyer, then-sophomore in pre-business, tries walking with a white cane at the demonstration walk at UDCC in October 2016. “Step Into My World” was put on by the Alliance for Disability Awareness Club and the Student Disability Resource Center. The event was part of Disability Awareness Week in 2016.

Olivia Rasmussen

With Disability Awareness Week in full swing, Morgan Tweed, the new president of the Alliance for Disability Awareness (ADA) club, is excited to help bridge the gap between students with disabilities and students without disabilities.

“There’s a great deal of under-representation for disability on campus,” Tweed said. “It’s not really considered in the buildings and the class structure, so it’s important for students and faculty. Most of our members are people that do have disabilities, but allies are certainly welcome.”

The ADA is a student-run organization that raises awareness about disability, disability access and accommodations on campus. The club meets every other week and partakes in activities like presentations, events, peer-support and games. The club meets biweekly at 5 p.m. Mondays in the lobby of the Students Services Building.

“The disability office is exceedingly accommodating, but it’s an old campus, so there’s a lot that needs to be done; there’s a lot that needs to be fixed,” Tweed said. “A lot of teachers aren’t aware of what would make a classroom accessible.”

Disability Awareness Week will include events and workshops that will provide multiple opportunities for students and staff to educate themselves in the world of being disabled, specifically as a student at Iowa State.

“Events and awareness weeks make people pay attention,” Tweed said. “For me, it’s a big opportunity to educate people on campus. I encourage people to message us with questions. You don’t learn if you don’t ask questions.”

Events during Disability Awareness Week include shining light on disabilities like Tourette’s, deafness, blindness, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and more. The ADA will be hosting an event called “Step Into My World” from 11 a.m. to noon Friday at the Parks Library awning, which will give students hands-on experience with navigating wheel chairs, learning how to utilize a white cane and other mobility assistance devices.

The ADA hosted two events as part of Disability Awareness Week on Wednesday. One was an ice cream social with a button making activity and a scholarship presentation.

Later Wednesday, there was an accessible screening of the movie “The Way He Looks.” According to the event description, the movie features Leonardo, a blind teenager searching for independence. His everyday life, his relationship with his best friend Giovana, and the way he sees the world change completely with the arrival of a character named Gabriel. 

To learn more about the club and its meetings, go to the student organization website.