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SMC dedicates week to disabilities awareness

Ashley Charnley | Sunday, February 6, 2011

Saint Mary’s Student Diversity Board (SDB) will be holding a Disabilities Awareness Week this week.

Events will be held daily, including Disabilities Awareness Activities Table from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Center Atrium today.

“The purpose of Disabilities Awareness Week is to make people aware that there are disabilities all around us, whether the disabilities are physical or learning disabilities,” senior Adrienne Quatman, Students With Disabilities chair, said.

There is a showing of “I am Sam” Tuesday in Vander Vennet at 8 p.m. with refreshments provided, Quatman said.

On Wednesday, Josh Diehl, professor of psychology at Notre Dame, will give a lecture on Autism in Vander Vannet at 7 p.m. An SDB Gives Back to the Dining Hall Staff night is Thursday. A Disabilities Awareness table will be set up Friday in the Student Center atrium, Quatman said.

According to Qautman, bracelets will be sold in the Student Center atrium all week for $1. Proceeds will go to the Children’s Tumor Foundation.

The week is one of SDB’s annual events and it grows from year to year.

“This is one of our annual events that we have had since the board was created,” Quatman said. “We have expanded on it, and each year it is different depending on who the board’s chair is. This year we have chosen to focus on a variety of disabilities.”

According to Quatman, the goal of the week is to bring understanding to the variety of disabilities that exist.

“We would like to make everyone aware of what it is like to have a disability and promote the understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face,” she said.

More than raising awareness, she said they also hope to bring a respect for those who have a disability.

“We hope to encourage sensitivity about what it’s truly like to be a person with disabilities in a society that does not fully embrace their capabilities,” Quatman said. “We also really wanted to publicize the Disabilities Center provided at Saint Mary’s.”

Quatman said this follows SDB’s goal of showing the value of all diversity on campus.

“SDB recognizes that every person is diverse and contributes to making our community a better place,” she said. “Disabilities Awareness Week relates to our mission in that the events we promote emphasize equality and recognize the value of all peoples.”

All events are open to everyone on campus.

“Everyone is encouraged to come to all of our events,” she said. “We also hope that people are aware of the Disabilities Center on Saint Mary’s campus. There will be more information about it at our Disabilities Awareness table in the Atrium all next week.”