STILLPOINT Archive: last updated 04/17/2014

Beyond Disabilities Week

Building on the success of last year’s “Beyond Colorblind” week, “Beyond Disabilities” week was held February 17 to 24. This student-led week was envisioned by Leah Serao ’14, an elementary education and linguistics double major with a concentration in special education, who wanted to cultivate discussion about disabilities, confront sometimes negative preconceptions, and make Gordon a place more hospitable to individuals with disabilities. Nearly 20 events included film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, and a project forum.

“Since our goal was to transform attitudes through education, interactions, and conversations, we hope the community will be more accepting of the differences found within the community,” Leah says. “I know a lot of students were moved by participating in one of our events called ‘Experiencing Disabilities,’ where students were given the opportunity to rent out wheelchairs. The challenge becomes real when you experience a bike blocking the automatic door button in KOSC or the difficulty of going up a ramp covered in snow and ice.”

Students packed the chapel and even its foyer to hear keynote speaker Temple Grandin (pictured above at right, with Leah), who is a professor at Colorado State University, an autism activist, a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior, an engineer, and the best-selling author of Thinking in Pictures. The Time 100 list names her as one of the one hundred most influential people in the world, in the “Heroes” category.