For the first time at Bowdoin, the College has hired a Disability Culture Coordinator, Claude Olson.
According to Assistant Dean of Student Affairs for Inclusion and Diversity Eduardo Pazos, the idea was the brainchild of conversations between the Disabled Student Association and various administrators, including Pazos, Director of Student Activities Nate Hintze, Director of Student Accessibility Lesley Levy, Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohman, and Associate Dean of Students for Inclusion and Diversity and Director of the Center for Sexuality, Women and Gender Kate Stern.
On Thursday night, the Disabled Students Association (DSA) hosted a talk on Relationships and Disability with YouTube personalities Hannah Aylward and Shane Burcaw. Their YouTube channel, Squirmy and Grubs, has garnered over 842,000 subscribers and over 147 million views.
Although Carmen Papalia lost the use of his vision, he does not identify as blind.
“I feel that word doesn’t serve me,” he said. “I often think of myself as a non-visual learner—someone who just made a choice to shift the value from the visual to the non-visual … I’d rather describe myself in relation to my learning style and my approach to learning than refer to a word that kind of means, ‘lack of preparedness or awareness.’ You just have to [search for] synonyms for the word ‘blind,’ and you get a long list of negative associations.”
Papalia, a Vancouver-based “social practice artist and disability activist,” delivered a lecture about his work at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art (BCMA) on October 19.