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DePaul community comes together to celebrate Disability Awareness Month

St. Vincent statue
(DePaul University/Randall Spriggs)

October is National Disability Awareness Month. In the coming weeks, DePaul will host a number of events in honor of that designation.

“This is an exciting time for those of us with disabilities in the DePaul community," says Kelly Tzoumis, a professor in the School of Public Service and co-founder of Ability Alliance for Allies and Advocates, or A4, DePaul's newest employee resource group. Along with the A4 executive committee member Kent Klaus, Tzoumis co-leads a current ​Academic Growth and Innovation Fund​ project, "Reaching Out to an Underrepresented Community: The Student with Disabilities," aimed at the recruitment of disabled learners. 

A4's first member meeting

On Friday, Sept. 24, A4 will hold its first member meeting. The university created A4 to support DePaul faculty and staff who have or support someone with a disability. The virtual meeting will provide an opportunity for interested employees to learn more about the group's programming for the year.

With the start of the new academic year, A4's executive committee looks forward to a full year of events and programs. Faculty and staff can learn more and RSVP for the event online. Those interested in becoming a member of A4 may reach out to any listed member of the executive committee​.

A conversation with Haley Moss

On Oct. 22, A4 and the DePaul BUILD Diversity program will co-sponsor an event featuring Haley Moss, an author and advocate for people with disabilities. Moss will share her personal story regarding neurodiversity and provide insights to help attendees understand better how to support others in similar situations.

Visit the Fall Quarter Workshop page on the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity website to RSVP for the Oct. 22 event.

Disability: IN

DePaul teamed with the Chicago chapter of Disability: IN to allow A4 members to attend sessions of the chapter's annual symposium. These sessions, which will run throughout the month of October, will cover issues including mental health, COVID-19, students with disabilities and inclusion for employees with disabilities.

“I look forward to all A4 has in store for Disability Awareness Month, as well as the rest of the academic year," says Brianna Mattia, a departmental assistant in the School of Public Service. “There has long been a need for additional programming, resources and support for disabled members of DePaul staff. It's exciting there is now a project filling that all-important void."

Accessible Futures

A new student organization, Accessible Futures, will host a virtual speaker in October for students.

“It's been so exciting to watch our new student organization come together this fall," says Gwenyth True, an accountancy honors student and president of the group. “The support from the university community has been greatly appreciated."

More information about the speaker event will be shared in the coming weeks. Accessible Futures invites those interested to stay up-to-date by joining the group on DeHub.

Kent Klaus is a senior instructor in the School of Accountancy & MIS and an A4 executive committee member. Rachel Wojnicki is an editor of Newsline and the internal communications manager in University Marketing and Communications.