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University Public Relations

1000 E University Ave

Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2379

Fax: (307) 766-6729

Email: uwmktg@uwyo.edu

UW Profiles

Abilities RSO Challenges Misconceptions

By Chris Miller

One of the biggest misconceptions about the Abilities RSO is that you must have a disability in order to join - a notion that is just not true.

"We really want to make an inclusive atmosphere on campus to make sure everyone feels welcome all the time" says Abilities president Shelby Kappler, a double major in international relations and Spanish on the goals of the advocacy RSO.

What is Abilities?

Founded in fall of 2013 and the first of its kind at UW, Abilities has worked with administration, Union event staff, and WIND to bring disability awareness to the UW population. The RSO has succeeded in partnering with campus events such as Safe Treat and the Shepard Symposium to make them more easily accessed by persons with disabilities and boost overall attendance and success.

Who can join Abilities?

"Anyone can join Abilities," says vice president and political science major Jessica Kramer. "You don’t have to have a disability. We want able-bodied and disabled people because everyone has an important perspective on these issues."

Abilities wants to show that having a disability is not something to be feared, pitied, or looked down upon and that persons with disabilities are not as isolated and limited of a population as people may think.

"Disability affects so many people and this fight for accessibility cannot happen if it's just persons with disabilities," says Kramer. "We need our able-bodied allies to come and help us form a more inclusive atmosphere. Disability is a social problem. It is more than just the impairment, it is how society acts on the impairment."

"Several leadership opportunities will be coming available in the fall, and we need new members to take over, since many of our current members will be graduating in spring" says Kappler.

What is coming up in the future?

Abilities has two noteworthy events on the UW calendar. The first is a showing of the movie FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement. The film asks the question: What is it to be human? FIXED will be shown in the Arts and Sciences Auditorium on March 22 and 24. Doors open at 6:00 and show time is at 6:30 with runtime at about 60 minutes.

The next is a poker run where participants will travel to various places across campus and pick up a playing card at each location to make a complete hand. The catch is to navigate the campus only using accessible walkways, accessible entrances, and avoiding stairs or any path requiring a step up or down. The run will also have simulations of several disabilities including visual impairments and learning disabilities at various points on the course. Food and cash prizes will be provided to participants. The poker run will take place on April 16 from 1:00 to 4:00.

For someone who is uncertain whether they should approach someone with a disability, Abilities treasurer and art major Garrett Cruzan has this to say:

"Just go for it. There's no reason to feel that way. I don't want to discount people's feelings because they're real, but those feelings are probably unfounded. Don’t let your imagination keep you from a great conversation."

Abilities RSO

Abilities is an organization for students interested in disability. Abilities celebrates and promotes disability awareness on the UW campus, as well as educates and advocate for rights and access.

Fixed

FIXED will be shown in the Arts and Sciences Auditorium on March 22 and 24. Doors open at 6:00 and show time is at 6:30 with runtime at about 60 minutes.

WIND

WIND works to assist individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, professionals, and University of Wyoming students through education, training, community services, and early intervention.

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University Public Relations

1000 E University Ave

Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2379

Fax: (307) 766-6729

Email: uwmktg@uwyo.edu

1000 E. University Ave. Laramie, WY 82071
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