What is SDA?
Students for Disability Awareness (SDA) was founded in Oct. 2007, to plan awareness of disability issues around campus. This student-run organization’s mission is to spread awareness and to educate the WWU community about the disability culture, to promote equal opportunities and improve accessibility for all students, faculty, and staff with disabilities, (regardless of nature), and to empower them with the strength and tools to have a positive university experience, while working with campus resources.
What has SDA accomplished so far?
In the few months that SDA has been active, we have planned events to promote awareness regarding disability related topics. We have hosted an ice cream social to promote student involvement in the club. We also led a seminar discussing the portrayals of disabilities in the media. During this seminar, we analyzed the way movies and other media sources contribute to popular stereotypes of disabilities by analyzing the roles of characters with disabilties. In February, we worked with the Veterans Outreach Center to show a movie, “Alive Day Memories,” and discussed the situation of wounded soldiers from the War in Iraq.
In April 2008, WWU experienced the first annual Disability Awareness Week which was spear headed by SDA. 16 events were planned by a collaboration of over 30 campus and community offices and groups. The Disability Awareness Week had over 300 partcipants and was recongized in May 2008 with the Best Collaborative Effort award from the WWU Associated Students.
SDA works beyond the events that we plan by continually advocating for the rights of staff and students with disabilities. In December 2007, SDA initiated student involvement in a campus wide accessibility assessment. The results of this assessment will help WWU to improve the accessibility of campus facilities. Our advocacy work has accomplished major strides. For example, the Viking Union has approved the installation of an automatic door, making it the first fully accessible restroom on campus.
The first year of SDA had so many more accomplishments. We were also recongized in May 2008 at the AS Club of the Year. We really appreciate all of the support we have recieved from the campus and the community.
One of the themes in Disability Awareness Week was “What’s yours?” When we ask this question we are not asking about your disability. We are asking you to focus on your abilities and your strengths. Many people tend to view disabilities as weaknesses. We hope to encourage people to see beyond the disabilty and define people based off their abilities, rather than to make judgements based off of their “weaknesses.”
How to get involved?
SDA is a voice for all students. Students with disabilities can contact both resources on campus and the SDA to assist in resolving any issues and advocate on their behalf.
SDA is always looking for new members and new ideas. We encourage you to contact us and look forward to hearing from you!
SDA is operated fully by volunteers, donations, and university funding. We are looking for sponsors to help fund our valuable work. All donations are tax deductable. For more information or to request a fundraising package, please contact Kate Stewart, our Fundraising Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SDA would not exist without the dedication of our five founding officers. SDA was founded in October 2007 and quickly grew to be one of the most respected clubs at WWU. We want to thank our founders for making this possible: