Annual Ability Experience at BC

Untitled-4On Thursday, May 15 in the cafeteria, a disability event was held. The event featured the opportunity for passerbys to experience simulated disability.
Three disabilities were available from which to select. One could pretend to be blind, deaf or wheelchair-bound. To prove they completed an event a sticker was distributed which could be attached to a card. If a person completed at least two of three disability simulations they qualified for a free granola bar that was available at the sign-in desk.
In the blindness simulation, event participants were blind-folded and walked around the cafeteria. One student commented how the experience was terrifying. “It’s alarming to walk around the cafeteria with all those noises going on around you,” explained Kylie Owen, secretary of the Bellevue College Rotaract Club. “You have to put a lot of trust into the person with you,” added Kaely Wickham, member and future secretary of the Bellevue College Rotaract Club. Hanah Joudi, a member of Seattle University Rotaract, explains one who is blind-folded “has to put their trust in anyone they meet, even complete strangers.” Joudi feels the event was successful, and thought to herself “you are awesome, that’s exactly what we wanted” when a student expressed their feelings of vulnerability during simulated disability. “You have to walk slow and figure out what’s around you.”
During the deafness event, students could attempt to check a book out from the library. They wore headphones and had an American Sign Language guide. Then they had to attempt successful interaction with a BC librarian. One student commented how they appreciated the deafness event. Their dad was deaf and they wondered what it was like. “It was cool for me to see that, and cool for him too,” explained Owen. The event was really “cool and eye-opening,” explained Joudi.
In the wheelchair event, students rode around in wheelchairs. Students commented how it took surprising strength to move. Some found themselves troubled with fatigue. “People don’t even realize you have to have an immense amount of strength to push yourself around with just your arms,” explained Joudi.
The event was run by the Bellevue College Rotaract Club. Rotaract Club is a community service club at Bellevue College. One might remember them from the malaria and polio bake sales. They are a member of Rotary International. Additionally, auxiliary support was called in from the Seattle University Rotaract.
According to Owen, “the purpose of this event is to raise awareness about people with disabilities and differently abled people, especially on campus.”
“We’ve got these stations to showcase what it’s like for a student to have disabilities and go to school here,” explainedRajiv Raina, member and future community service chair of the Bellevue College Rotaract Club.