Disability in the Watchdog

BC’s newspaper, the Watchdog, interviewed DRC Assistant Director AJ Duxbury for their article on the Fall Open House.  The Watchdog also interviewed DRC Director Susan Gjolmesli for their article on Disability Awareness Month.  Check out the Fall Open House article here, the Disability Awareness Month article here or read the transcripts below!



Get involved on campus: Fall Open House

The LGBTQ Resource Center also had a table at the open house. They are a “diversity group focused on the LGBTQ community,” according to member Neco Merk. Merk explained LGBTQ means “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and either queer or questioning depending on who you ask.” The resource center handed out condoms at their booth. They are a “safe place for all people,” added Merk.

The Disability Resource Center had a booth to inform interested students. They are a place for disabled students to receive help. In a message to incoming students, AJ Duxbury explained, “most students don’t realize they can continue to receive accommodations if they had disabilities in high school.” She further added that the resource center is “a very open office” which will “help students in any way they can.”

At the Chinese Culture Club, students had the opportunity to “learn about Chinese culture and language,” according to Jennifer Yang. Their first meeting will a barbecue party on Sept. 20.

“Students, seriously, listen,” is Jack Moore’s message to incoming students. “Bellevue Chi Alpha is not a fraternity, it is not the drama club, nor the photography club. It’s a place for people to come and hang out, and explore their faith, and walk with God, and learn about Jesus.” They meet at noon on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

“We are a huge college,” attests Chris Attanasio of the Campus Activites Board at another booth. “We’ve got lots and lots of activities going on throughout the year.” Examples include “games, dances and presentations by speakers.” If a club has an upcoming event, they can come to the Activities Board to help promote it with advertising.

“We help students find apartments, get them set up with furniture, and can bundle all their housing expenses into one bill,” explained representative Zach Hammond at the booth of the business CORT. “By doing that ,we can avoid a lot of the deposits they usually have.” They have 12- and nine-month packages available, but can even do them shorter.

Another booth featured a “storage, pick-up, and delivery service,” geared towards students who might study abroad and need somewhere for their stuff. It’s advertised as the cheapest place around. Further information can be found at storrage.com.

The next booth featured a dual Army/radio station setup. The idea was for the radio station to “entertain and share information about the Army and Army Reserve” according to Sargeant Briding. They can aid students “by helping them stay in college and giving them a little extra money to pay for it.” He added, “If anyone is interested, we are located in the Bellevue office off northeast 20th street.”
Ellen Walker was the representative for the International Talk Time booth. They would like “welcome all new students to our International Talk-Time club.” The focus is aiding international students with cultural adjustment. Also, they are a “Christian club” which can “help with any spiritual questions, as well as social questions the [international students] might have.”

Assey Reda of the African Students Association explains “we teach about […] African culture. We have events about African clothing, dance and food. […] During our meetings on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2-3 p.m. we talk about African politics and economics.” The club is inclusive and they encourage anyone to attend events. The club represents a broad range of countries including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. They have members and officers from all parts of Africa. Interested students can find more information on their Facebook page.

The student response was entirely positive. New students Vivenne Chan and Susie Jin may have been new to English but felt the event was both helpful and enjoyable. Another group of students also gave positive reviews. Mick Tsai admitted with a smile: “Our English not that good, but we enjoy [the event]. It’s really fun.” Along with his friends Kevin Ding, Nathan, Danny Peng and Chen Chin, they joined many clubs, like Physics, International Talk Time, and the League of Legends Club. Nearby, Chihiro Ogawa and friends all responded affirmative when asked if they enjoyed the event. However, aside from International Talk Time, Ogawa lost track and “[didn’t] even know” which clubs they joined.




Disability Awareness Month

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. It is held each year as a national campaign to raise awareness about disability employment issues and disability in general. The theme this year is “Expect. Employ. Empower.”

Back in 1945, NDEAM used to be called “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week” lasted only the first week of October. In 1962, congress removed the word “physically” in order to include and acknowledge disabilities of all types. In 1988, congress renamed the campaign to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” extended it throughout the entire month of October, and NDEAM is what we have today.

There is a Disability PRIDE event on Thursday, Oct. 30 in the Carlson Theater from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Thanks to receiving funding from clubs like the Disability Resource Center, Phi Theta Kappa and Associated Student Government, Bellevue College has the chance to bring the renowned speaker Lydia Brown to our campus from Georgetown University. She will present “Beyond the Imagined Normal: Disability, Pride & Culture.” As a noted intersectional social justice and social model of disability activist, Lydia Brown is published and runs a hugely successful blog called “Autistic Hoya,” which is well-known nationally and internationally. As an autistic woman herself, Lydia Brown supports the idea of “Nothing About Us Without Us” and the LGBTQ movement. The event will mostly revolve around the essence of social and disability justice. “We are okay with what we are and who we are,” stated Susan Gjolmesli, the director of the Disability Resource Center. Please plan to arrive early, because the event is advertised and open to the public. With reception to follow, please plan to stay after the event, since there also might be arrangements for guests to interact with Lydia Brown directly during reception.

Gjolmesli will most likely participate in the “Human Library” coordinated by Saya Horibe, held on Tuesday, Oct. 7. Critical conversations will also involve both students and staff, “topics may include: Disability Face, non-visual disabilities, [and that] Guide Dogs are working—Don’t Pet!” According to A.J. Duxbury, the Assistant Director of the DRC. Movies or short films will also be shown in the cafeteria throughout the Disability PRIDE Month. Specific films are yet to be announced.

The Bellevue College Disability Resource Center has come up with ideas and projects to promote awareness of Disability Month around the campus. Putting a twist on the ongoing PostSecret community art project, the Disability Postcard Project aims to voice ideas of what “disability” means to all students (disabled or not). Through the anonymous postcard arts, students can reveal their own experiences and attitudes towards disability in their lives, on campus and in society. All submissions are due Friday, Oct. 24, by 5 p.m. All submitted postcards will be displayed throughout the campus on the last week of Disability Pride Month, Oct. 27-30.

Interpreters are already secured for Lydia Brown.  If you’re interested in attending another event and would like an interpreter, please contact the event organizer two weeks in advance, or as soon as possible.  Event organizers, please fill out the Sign Language Interpreter Request Form at the bottom of this page.


Last Updated October 1, 2014