Allies for Students with Disabilities (ASD) serves as both a support network for NC State students with disabilities and as an instrument for enhancing the understanding of and appreciation for students with disabilities throughout the campus community. We recently interviewed Lynn Lumens, a senior in natural resources with a concentration in policy administration and a minor in social work to find out more about this student organization.
Plans for this Year
This year, Lumens hopes that ASD will bring more awareness and education to students about disabilities, accommodations and the Disability Resource Office. Lumens hopes to stop the stigma around disabilities and declaring accommodations. NC State is below average in reporting disabilities. A lot of students, Lumens points out, do not know about invisible disabilities or that disabilities can be short-term in nature.
How ASD Supports Students on Campus
Lumens says ASD does a lot of the ‘behind the scenes’ work in supporting students with disabilities on campus. However, ASD is visible when it hosts student panels for classes by request and orientation leader (OL) and resident assistant (RA) trainings. The panels provide the student perspective of what having a disability on campus is like. ASD also collaborates with the University of Seattle at Washington on conferences that promote awareness and education and works with an international network as well.
ASD establishes a community of acceptance, creating a welcoming environment for those who want to learn more. All students are encouraged to come to ASD with their questions or concerns. “We feel out what things are needed… we are open to the needs of students because we are the advocacy group for students with disabilities,” says Lumens.
Enhancing the Understanding of and Appreciation for Students with Disabilities
ASD is working to dispel myths around disabilities and accommodations. Lumens shares that they receive a lot of feedback about accommodations giving students with disabilities an unfair advantage, when in actuality it evens the playing field.
On enhancing the understanding and appreciation for students with disabilities Lumens says, “We see the campus climate and meet students where they’re at to help them grow.” The first step to learning more, Lumens points out, is to have an open mind and reach out.
Upcoming ASD general meetings are on October 17, 2017 and November 21, 2017 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. in Riddick Hall, Room 339. “We are in the process of setting up activities, such as game nights and weekly or biweekly drop-in office hours so that students can interact with us informally.”
Austin Butler is a communications intern in the Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity. She is a senior majoring in science, technology and society.