Allies for Inclusion Exhibit on Campus Jan. 26-28

“We’re so used to everything being easy that we don’t realize the obstacles others must climb over in order to complete everyday tasks,” said Sydney VanHoose, a senior and president of Students Advocating For Everyone (S.A.F.E.).

She explained the importance of being aware of the struggles those with disabilities face daily. A special education major, VanHoose has grown up advocating for those with disabilities. It’s her passion.

She has brought that same passion to the group she currently resides over, which is bringing the traveling exhibit, Allies for Inclusion, to Siena Heights University from Jan. 26-28. The St. Louis University School of Education, creators of the Allies for Inclusion exhibit, describe the exhibit as “a traveling interactive display designed to develop allies for people with disabilities.”

Kiersten Diachun, a senior and treasurer of S.A.F.E., describes an ally as someone who not only advocates for them, but is there for them on a personal level. Allies for Inclusion provides an opportunity for students to be able to experience and understand the difficulties those with disabilities go through. This event is designed to make people become more aware, and thus, increase inclusivity, she said.

Diachun pointed out that people rarely know how much harm they are imposing on someone because they are not informed. It is only when people receive the education that they can respond positively and acceptingly, which she said is one of the goals in bringing the event to campus.

“Siena students are already looking to help each other out and be supportive of one another in whatever way they need; the education piece is all we really need to complete that,” Diachun said.

This event will be open from 9 a.m.-9 p.m. for all three days. It will be located in Dominican Hall’s main floor. This way, students, staff, and community members will have no conflict with time.

There will be 10 interactive displays for participants to partake in and observe. There will be student guides who will have already have experienced the display, who will be able to answer questions. But for the most part, it’s independent. All of the displays or activities work with all five senses, so people can really get a thorough experience.

“I would budget at least 10 to 15 minutes for the interactive display. But, if you really get into it, you can definitely spend half an hour,” Diachun said.
Sharese Mathis, one of S.A.F.E.’s advisors, described why she believes people should attend: “Everybody has a place in the community. This event will help you learn how to respect all, increasing your knowledge, and allowing you to contribute to society in a positive way.”

Multiple groups have already signed up to help with this event, but organizers still desperately need more! Those interested in helping out at this event, either contact Mathis at [email protected] or use this link to sign up online:

In the words of Mathis: “Be patient and don’t be discouraged, because it’ll be here for 36 hours!”