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Disability Cultural Center makes a big impact on local community in first year
In its first year of operation, Syracuse University’s Disability Cultural Center (DCC), within the Division of Student Affairs, has been busy building bridges and making meaningful connections on campus, in the community and across the country. In its efforts to establish and celebrate a community that fosters pride in one’s identity and creates a culture of inclusion, the DCC received the 2012 Special Recognition Award from the local organization, Enable, at the Shining Lights Annual Awards Celebration on Sept. 27. The DCC was part of a select group of honorees to receive a Shining Lights award, which celebrates staff, participants, volunteers and community members who are committed to Enable’s mission of enhancing the quality of individuals with disabilities through an array of services.
”I am delighted and moved that the DCC has been counted among Enable’s honorees, this year, particularly Sally Johnston, who was acknowledged for 30 years of service to the organization,” says Diane Wiener, director of the DCC. “A founding member of Disabled in Action of Greater Syracuse, she is one of my heroes. Sally has strong and longstanding ties with SU, and is often lauded as one of those responsible for the advocacy efforts that resulted in the first curb cuts being created on our campus. To have received this award, and to be beside all of the recipients, including Sally, and former Enable awardee Cyndy Colavita (of the SU Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies), is a very great and humbling honor, indeed.”
Under the direction of Wiener, the DCC has brought disability culture into the forefront of institutional and community consideration. As one corner of the four cultural centers at the University, the DCC now advocates for and brings together members of the disability community and allies. These efforts have brought the University and community to a new level of understanding and acceptance.
“We are incredibly proud of and humbled by the work that Diane has been doing over the past year,” says Rebecca Reed Kantrowitz, associate vice president for student affairs. “Her tremendous work ethic, expertise, passion and ability to bring people together are to be commended. Diane has made a significant impact both on our campus and in the surrounding area, and we are grateful for Enable’s recognition of her accomplishments.”
Syracuse University established a Disability Cultural Center to coordinate campus-wide social, educational and cultural activities on disability issues for students, faculty, staff and community members with and without disabilities. The center is the first of its kind in the United States to be housed within a Division of Student Affairs and to be directed by a full-time professional staff member.
The DCC began after the Chancellor’s Task Force on Disability at Syracuse University recommended the establishment of a center in its 2007 report to the Chancellor. The center is a partner to other existing programs, groups and departments across campus, including but not limited to: the Beyond Compliance Coordinating Committee, the Disability Student Union, the Disability Law Society, the Office of Disability Services, the Taishoff Center on Inclusive Higher Education, the Center on Human Policy, Law and Disability Studies, the Disability Law and Policy Program, the Burton Blatt Institute, the ACCESS and OnCampus programs, and the Institute on Communication and Inclusion.
To learn more about the Disability Culture Center, visit the Web site http://sudcc.syr.edu/, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/sudcc, or Tumblr page http://disabilityculturalcenter.tumblr.com/. Questions may be directed to Wiener at 443-4486 or firstname.lastname@example.org.