SBVC Ability Awareness Week Brings Visibility To Student Services Offered On Campus

This year’s Ability Awareness Week was a resounding success — and even bigger things are ahead for San Bernardino Valley College’s Student Accessibility Services (SAS).

During the week of Oct. 10, several events were held to mark Ability Awareness Week, including the Ability Awareness Fair and disability rights and awareness lecture with history Prof. Ed Gomez. The highlight of the week was the Student Accessibility Services Ribbon-Cutting, held in honor of Disabled Student Programs and Services changing its name earlier this year to Student Accessibility Services.

“We had about 40 SAS students that showed up outside of our offices waiting for the event to start and they were so excited to be there,” Student Accessibility Services Director Larry Brunson said. “Being able to celebrate them with our new department name as well as the debut of our SAS promo commercial was so gratifying and rewarding. My team and I have been planning this for a year now and to see it all come together was absolutely amazing!”

The week’s events and activities were attended by faculty, staff, administrators, and students, including many who were previously unaware of what Student Accessibility Services offers. “We had several students approach us about our services and how they could apply,” Brunson said. “We have even seen some of them come into our oice to complete the application and intake process. I also believe that this momentum will continue because the feedback we received from students is that they really appreciate the name change because it removed the previous stigma of referring to people as disabled.”

The Student Accessibility Services team offers workshops throughout the academic year, with the next one for students, “Student Accessibility Services High Tech Center, Alternate Media and Assistive Technology,” set for Jan. 20, 2023. With earlier Ability Awareness Weeks as the foundation, Student Accessibility Services is also planning big changes for its signature event.“

On behalf of the entire SAS team, we would like to thank each and every person on this campus that has supported our eforts and attended our Ability Awareness Week,” Brunson said. “Moving forward, we have decided as a team to move our Ability Awareness event to the month of April because there are many events happening in October and since April is Autism Awareness Month, we felt it would be better there and not conflict with so many other events.”

Additionally, the revamped event — tentatively called “Ability Con” — will be reduced to one day. It will take place in April 2024, giving Student Accessibility Services 18 months to prepare. Until then, “We would like to encourage students to visit our website and please do not hesitate to visit our ofice if you have any questions or need to make an appointment to see a counselor,” Brunson said. “Also, students should check our website and the SBVC social media sites to view our promo commercial. We are very proud of the commercial and how it truly represents the work we do here at Student Accessibility Services.”

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Founded in 1926, San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) is a comprehensive community college offering hundreds of degree programs, on campus and online.