Disability Awareness Week to raise awareness on campus through events


Alexandra Kelly/Iowa State Daily

El Mayer, then-sophomore in business management, begins to walk using a cane and mask to eliminate her vision. 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. 

Madison Mason

According to CBS News, 15 percent of the world’s population, roughly 785 million people, have a physical or mental disability. During Disability Awareness Week, Iowa State is taking the initiative to educate people and support those with disabilities.

Morgan Tweed, the president for the Alliance for Disability Awareness (ADA), explained why this week of awareness is so important and why people should be educated about these topics.

Tweed said ADA is a student-run organization that dedicates their time and effort to raising awareness for those with disabilities and to supporting student and staff members with disabilities. This student organization has meetings every two weeks Thursdays at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Services Building lobby. ADA also holds events such as the ones during Disability Awareness Week.

When asked why this week is so important, Tweed said within a busy college student schedule, special events can help make a difference.

“Life on campus is busy and hectic,” Tweed said. “Special events that are different from the norm tend to catch people’s attention and make awareness easier to spread.”

Disability Awareness Week is an opportunity to increase education about disabilities.

Tweed said disability is not something people who aren’t affected by disability think about often, but it affects one of the largest minorities in our country. He said people should be aware of disabilities because most of the world is not yet accommodating for most disabilities.

“Even [the] ISU campus, which admittedly is not bad, still has a very long way to go to be accessible,” Tweed said. “By showing the people on campus what their fellows have to deal with, we encourage change and understanding.”

Throughout this week there will be many events that will not only educate people on campus but also bring awareness to those who have disabilities. These events are open to anyone interested at Iowa State.

On Monday, there will be Disability Awareness Week Kick-Off, which will take place from 10:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. outside Parks Library.

Also on Monday, there will be Accessible Game Night from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Carver Hall lobby.

On Tuesday, there will be two speakers, Judy Huemann, a disability rights activist, and Trevor Smith, who has one of the most extreme case’s of Tourette’s syndrome.

Huemann will speak followed by a student panel. This will take place from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. in Marston Hall in room 3300. Smith will speak later at 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Gallery Room in the Memorial Union.

On Wednesday, there will be an ADA Ice Cream Social and Scholarship Presentation from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Student Services Building.

Wednesday night there will be an accessible movie night, where a showing of the movie “The Way He Looks” will take place 7 to 8 p.m. in Science Hall II, room 223.

On Thursday evening there will be a Neurodiversity Improv Workshop from 5 to 6 p.m. in room 0198 of Parks Library.

To finish off the week, Friday will have three events happening.

The first will be Step into My World from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the Parks Library Awning, where abled people can try navigating doing things with a mobility assistance device.

Next, there will be an “American Sign Language: Deaf Culture and Language” event where attendees can learn about deaf culture and learn basic American Sign Language signs from 11 a.m. to noon in the Gallery Room of the Memorial Union.

The final event will be the ITS Digital Accessibility Lab to learn about assistive technology resources from 1 to 2 p.m. in Durham, room 108.