Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 26, 2007

U of G Week Aims to Erase Disability Stigmas

“Erasing the Stigma” surrounding people with disabilities is the theme of the University of Guelph’s annual Accessibility Awareness Week March 5 to 9.

The week’s events are designed to draw attention to the issue of access on campus for people with visual, hearing, mobility, learning, psychological and medical disabilities.

“By increasing awareness associated with many disabilities, we're taking major steps to break down the stigmas that hinder progress and acceptance,” said Denise De La Franier, chair of Accessibility Awareness Week and assistant advisor in the Centre for Students With Disabilities.

The week begins March 5 with an evening of art, music and speakers called “Recovery Through the Arts” from 5 to 7 p.m. in Room 441 of the University Centre. The event, organized with community partner Spark of Brilliance, is free and open to the public. It will feature people discussing the role art played in their recovery process, a performance by a violinist who lives with a serious mental illness, and art by Spark of Brilliance members.

The Centre for Students With Disabilities and Teaching Support Services will give two free information sessions March 6 in Room 384 of McLaughlin Library. “Bridging the Gap: Learning about Learning Disabilities and the Technologies That Help" runs from 10 to 11:30 a.m., and “It's Clearer, Louder and Easier! Introduction to the Gentner System (Technology for Those With Hearing Impairments)” runs from 1 to 2 p.m.

March 6 also features a $2 “Wellness Lunch” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Room 103 of the University Centre. Organized by Forward Minds, a student-run mental health awareness group, this event will include music by Brantford songwriter Mark Wilson. At 7 p.m., a free screening of The Tie That Binds about a man with multiple disabilities striving for independence will take place in Room 1307 of the Thornbrough Building as part of U of G’s Docurama series.

On March 7, everyone is invited to gather at the cannon at noon for an accessible walk around campus. The “Run, Walk and Roll to Erase Stigma” march aims to help open eyes to disability issues.

Teaching Support Services is holding a free session for faculty on universal instructional design March 7 from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Room 332 of the University Centre.

A resource fair runs March 8 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Centre courtyard. Representatives of a number of organizations and agencies, including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Wellington/Dufferin Distress Centre and the AIDS Committee of Guelph and Wellington County, will be on hand to provide information about their services and will also be seeking new volunteers for their programs.

Also on March 8, a free aerobic dance class adaptable for those with physical disabilities will be held at noon in Room 200 of the Athletics Centre.

The week wraps up March 9 with a talk by U of G graduate Jason Dunkerley at 10 a.m. in the Arboretum Centre. “Jason is a world-class competitive runner who doesn’t let his blindness stop him from going the distance,” said De La Franier.

Dunkerley’s talk will be followed by the presentation of the Gonder Family Centre for Students With Disabilities Volunteer Award, the Tara Lynn Giuliani Award and the Gonder Family Scholarship.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.

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