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Relationships for Persons with Disabilities Discussion, Animal Companions on the Quad Event Highlight Disability Awareness Month

Deej photo(photo courtesy of Rooy Media LLC and David James Savarese)

The 2017 documentary film "Deej" will be among the events scheduled in October, as Ferris State University's Liaison Committee for Students with Disabilities observes Disability Awareness Month. A discussion will follow the film, to be shown at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 in Room 213 of the University Center.

The Liaison Committee for Students with Disabilities will offer six October events, in hopes of building community and increasing awareness during their observance of Disability Awareness Month.

Maggie Walcott is a member of the Liaison Committee for Students with Disabilities and a coordinator for the Disability Awareness Month activities. Walcott said their offerings include opportunities to get active, with an “All Bodies Dance Party” on Thursday, Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the “Skeleton Skurry,” a fully inclusive 5K race on Saturday, Oct. 26 on a course that begins and ends at Big Rapids City Hall.

“Another of our community-building activities is the “Companions in The Quad” gathering on Thursday, Oct. 24,” Walcott said. “Our committee has wanted to do this for a while, as it should be a very empowering event to bring the public together with our faculty, students and staff who have registered assistance animals, or service animals.”

Walcott said that pre-registration is required for participation in this event. The Ferris campus community encouraged to use the Bulldog Connect portal on the university’s website. Walcott said there is also information available on the “Companions in The Quad” Facebook page.

“We are so pleased to partner with Beer City Dog Biscuits, a Grand Rapids-based company that employs adults with disabilities in the manufacturing of their product,” Walcott said. “The biscuits contain waste material from the brewing of Founders’ beer products. There will be samples and other giveaways, and the university’s Educational Counseling and Disabilities Services office will work to increase awareness regarding assistance and service animals.”

Walcott said the panel discussion, “Flirting with Disability” on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. in University Center Ballroom A, addresses a topic that may not have received full consideration in the community.

“There are many myths about disability and sexuality,” Walcott said. “The purpose of this panel is to dispel those myths and remind our audience that persons with disabilities are, above all, people who have the same emotional and physical needs as persons without disabilities. Our panel for this event is quite diverse, with a combination of an alumna, students and staff, which will provide a varied and valuable perspective. There will also be two licensed sex therapists participating that evening, to address the navigation of the physical aspects of relationships.”

The entire Disability Awareness Month schedule is available online, and Walcott welcomes inquiries from those requiring assistance to participate in any or all events.