University declares November as Disability Month at SRU


Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham

Oct. 16, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - A Disability Sport Night with an appearance by a Pittsburgh Mighty Penguins Sled Hockey player and an educational symposium are just two of the events Slippery Rock University will offer during its November President's Commission for Disability Issues Month.

Dallas Jackson


The program will include roundtables, speakers and demonstrations focused on awareness and advocacy, said , assistant professor of physical and health education and co-chair of the President's Commission on Disability Issues.

"We have a lot of passionate leaders in the fields related to disability on this University campus," Jackson said.

SRU is expanding the reach of its six President's Commissions - disability issues, gender identity/sexual orientation, racial and ethic diversity, sustainability, status of women and wellness - to offer month-long learning focuses for each area.

Jackson said the two main events for the month are the Nov. 6 Disability Sport Night in SRU's Robert N. Aebersold Student Recreation Center and The Nov. 24 President's Commission for Disability Issues Disability Symposium in the Smith Student Center. Its theme is "Increasing Quality of Life for Individuals with Disabling Health Conditions."

Ben Bevington


Jackson said the sport night, from 6-8 p.m., is for students to learn about numerous disability sports, including wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, wheelchair tennis, beep baseball and other activities.

Ben Bevington, a former high school football player who sustained an injury that resulted in impaired use of his lower limbs, will participate at sports night. He plays wheelchair basketball and is a member of the Mighty Penguins.

The University's first Disability Symposium is being offered as part of SRU's 2015-16 Diversity and Inclusion Series. The symposium is from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

"The event has been developed to facilitate professional development, as well as advocacy and awareness for SRU faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students and leaders in fields related to disability," Jackson said.

Wheelchair athlete Aaron "Wheelz" Fotheringham will give a keynote lecture at 12:30 p.m. Fotheringham, who was born with Spina bifida, is known internationally for being the first person every to land a double wheelchair back flip and has performed with Nitro Circus.

Other symposium highlights include in-depth discussions, networking, poster displays and hands-on demonstrations.

SRU has received recognition and numerous grants for its programs that educated students for careers helping those with disabilities. The most recent occurred Wednesday when SRU President Cheryl Norton accepted a check in the amount of $60,000 from the DREAM Partnership today to support SRU's new Transition Achievement Program for students with intellectual disabilities.

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