Events Commemorate Disabilities Awareness Day

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ironman Triathlete and double amputee Scott Rigsby will be one of many stars on campus when the University of West Georgia hosts its second annual UWG Disability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 15. The Student Development Center, Disability Services, Achiever’s Organization and the Department of Physical Education are planning to go over the top to raise the awareness level on D-Day at West Georgia.

It will be the largest event of its kind to be organized on campus. Campus wide activities are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The events are free and the community is invited to attend.

Rigsby, a motivational speaker and award winning athlete, is scheduled to speak in the Campus Center at 6 p.m. with a panel of community guests, faculty, staff and students discussing and answering questions about their disabilities afterward.

Blaze Sports representatives and athletes will demonstrate wheelchair basketball, tennis and other sports from 9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. with a Wheelchair Rally following at 3 p.m.

Other activities include a “Turn a Deaf Ear to Your Professor for the Day,” a new D-Day event that encourages students and members of the West Georgia community to simulate hearing loss.

With permission from their professors, participating students will wear earplugs during classes. Students are responsible for obtaining all lecture materials through another student, a digital recorder or a captioning assistant if the class is captioned.

Participants can raise money through pledges for the time they spend participating in the experiment or they can pay a $2 registration fee without pledging.  The funds collected will benefit the university’s captioning program.

“As an educational institution our goal is to educate all people whenever possible,” said Sharon Nunnally, assistant coordinator of Disability Services and co-coordinator of the event. “Disability Day allows all of us to increase our awareness. It is the students doing most of the work and it has been a real collaborative effort across campus.”

That collaboration stretches from booked national guests to faculty, staff and students throughout the campus. The UWG Bookstore will provide the tee shirts, the Department of Music will share its jazz and the School of Nursing will help with medical checkups.

The Achievers, an on-campus student organization that promotes awareness and advocacy for students with mobility issues, will also help with D-Day activities and an Adaptive Sports class and its physical education instructor, Elizabeth Butts, will join in on the event to help with the activities. Butts and Nunally are working together on the event.

For more information, call 678-839-6423.