Samford University will observe Disability Awareness Month during the month of October. Customarily, the United States observes Disability Awareness Month in March. However, the Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives (ODII) wishes to be intentional in all of their observances of heritage and awareness months.
“When the nation’s celebration takes place in March, there is a national emphasis on equitable employment and creating opportunities for each member of our community. We strive to do this, not in spite of our differences, but in celebration of the beauty and diversity of the Samford community,” said Jenée Spencer, director of diversity education and development.
The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives intends to celebrate this month in the academic year, so that the Samford community has an opportunity to draw special emphasis and recognition together.
“Representation is important as we work to create an equitable community that is thoughtful about community and the needs therein. Elevating often marginalized voices provides the Samford community with the opportunity to connect with and support individuals who may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past,” said Spencer.
ODII plans to elevate this month with a series of events and learning opportunities for the entire Samford community.
“We are planning partnership events with DREAM, as they highlight what it means to build an accessible building, as well as faculty and staff seminars that highlight what accommodations are available for students and best practices for implementation. We are excited to facilitate events that raise awareness and further community education,” said Spencer.
The Office of Diversity and Intercultural Initiatives is also excited to be working with the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations this month. The office, formerly known as Disability Resources, has undergone a recent name change.
“We want to be clear that we do not view “disability” as a negative word. In fact, for some students their disability is very much a part of their identity. The name change is intended to be more inclusive and to serve students who have hidden disabilities or chronic health conditions. Some of these students told us the name of the office was a barrier to them using our services. We hope this is a positive change that will allow us to focus on the services we provide, rather than the disability or health condition behind them,” said Bridget Rose, Director of the Academic Success Center.
Be on the lookout for events and features throughout the month on @samforddiverse to raise disability awareness and celebrate the diversity of our community.