Disability awareness month kicked off on Oct. 3 with a fair for disability awareness day.
Disabled Students Program and Services has lined up events throughout the month to raise awareness.
Pam Tibbet, senior program specialist at DSP&S, said the goal is to inform the campus community about the diverse experiences of people with disabilities, challenge assumptions and stereotypes, and create a more inclusive campus.
“[Fresno City College] is inclusive,” she said. “We work very hard in DSP&S to make sure we are part of everything that goes on on campus.”
The new DSP&S student leadership club is very committed to getting more involved in campus activities. The club’s focus is on giving back to the campus through volunteering.
Veronica Hernandez, president of the club, said that the club has already seen massive growth in the month since it began.
“It’s made them feel comfortable on campus,” Hernandez said. After just two meetings, members are branching out to other clubs on campus.
Now she wants to normalize the presence of students with disabilities. The campus has changed a lot since her first attempt in college, and has become much better — more inclusive, without discrimination– than it was in the past. Whereas Hernandez used to struggle to find accomodations in class, DSP&S today has been largely successful in making classrooms handicap friendly.
“You can say disabled; it’s not a bad word,” Hernandez said. She has returned to FCC after facing discrimination because of her disability, telling students,
“That’s the one big thing we’re trying to get out there,” club member Matilda Woodard, said. “Being disabled is nothing to be embarrassed about.”
Tibbet said that this month’s events can help ease some of the challenges students with disabilities face.
“The challenge is mainly misconception,” Tibbet said. “People will see a wheelchair and think ‘oh poor them.’ You need to look beyond what you see and dig a little deeper and let people show you what they can do.”
Students must apply to receive services from DSP&S. Tibbet said she believes that there are students on campus that can use their help, such as extra time on a test, but don’t feel that they can reach out.
Lilli Goishi-Bessey, the coordinator of health services at FCC, was also working the booth alongside Tibbet. She said she wants students to know about the health services they provide.
Nursing and psychological services and flu shots are available to students.
Other services available to students include emergency first aid, illness evaluations, tuberculosis skin tests, immunizations, hearing and vision screenings and more.
The DSP&S office is on the Maroa side of campus in front of the Old Administration Building. Students are also welcome to attend the next DSP&S club meeting at 2:15 today. The health services are in the student services building in ST-112 or by calling 559-442-8268.