Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Anybody See The Summit Article?

So, in the November 19th issue of The Summit (which seems like ages ago) Jeff Compagna wrote an article on the disABILITY Enlightenment Project. For those of you who don't know, The Summit is Stonehill's student run newspaper which usually comes out biweekly.

Anyway, I knew that there was going to be some sort of article, because Compagna had interviewed me via E-mail, but I had NO IDEA that it was going to be on the front page! This is great publicity for us and I am so excited that the editors decided that we were important enough for the front page!!

For those of you who haven't read the article, it basically talked about what we are all about and how we hope to gain awareness about the subject of disABILITY. It mentioned the motives behind creating the club and not only what students were involved, but the faculty and staff that helped make it happen- like Martha Ucci (the director of the Office of Academic Achievement), Richard Grant (head of the Disability Committee and Dean of Academic Services), and Jim Hermelbracht (director of Student Activities). It also went into things I thought that could be fixed on campus, as well as programming the club plans to achieve.

The article also voiced the opinion of junior Tom McKinnon- a political science major on campus with cerebral palsy and it was said that "He believes that the club will be beneficial in educating people on the subject, but hopes that education will lead to disabilities becoming a transient issue." I definitely understand where he is coming from- that he believes disAbility should become a transient issue, but in order for people to be able to see disAbility in a different light there needs to be a movement. On campus there are groups that promote cultural awareness- like Diversity on Campus and Asian-American Society. I think we need groups like this in order to promote differences and work towards understanding them.

McKinnon also said "The issue [disAbility] and the club should be taken with a grain of salt. I hope that disabilities will become a non-issue." Once again, I understand where he is coming from, but I do not really understand why the issue and the disABILITY Enlightenment Project needs to be taken with a grain of salt. He explains that "the club's main focus should be to work towards total equality and not alienation." I feel like the disABILITY Enlightenment Project is not alienating people with disAbilities at all, just like the Diversity on Campus Club, the Asian-American Society, and other clubs of that nature do not alienate people of different racial, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds. Those groups are not "taken with a grain of salt," so why should the disABILITY Enlightenment Project be?

I want people to realize that what we are trying to do is not to set aside people with disAbilities, but rather educate people about them and embrace them. We want to promote equality, and I want people to feel comfortable discussing the subject of disAbility since it can sometimes be such a taboo issue.

I see absolutely nothing people need to be wary about in regards to the disABILITY Enlightenment Project. I think we are doing a great thing, but if McKinnon and others do have qualms with the club, I do want them to come forward and voice their opinion, because like I just mentioned I want to promote discussion about disAbility on campus.

Anyway, to wrap this up I am glad that we got so much publicity and I hope that more members of the Stonehill College Community will become involved.

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