The SSD will host two campaigns in the coming month
The UVic Society for Students with a Disability (SSD) is running two campus-wide campaigns in March to increase membership and raise awareness about invisible and dynamic disabilities, both of which face massive social misconceptions.
Adrean Meuser, office coordinator for the SSD, and their team are leading the Invisible Disabilities campaign running from March 6 to March 10. A second campaign called Dynamic Disabilities will run from March 20 to March 24.
“Success would look like … more people accessing our services and our resources, ” Meuser said in an interview with the Martlet.
Both campaign weeks will follow a similar structure. Monday and Friday will be tabling days, in which the SSD will have a table set up most likely in front of the SUB (exact location to be determined) from 11:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. Students can approach to share their stories, chat with the SSD team about invisible and dynamic disabilities, and ask any questions they might have about the society.
“All week long, people are going to be talking about their lived experiences and what they wish people knew,” Meuser said.
The SSD will turn these stories into social media posts Tuesday through Thursday of each campaign week, which is also when the society hopes to invite speakers to give talks and lead workshops for students.
The focus of the first week is invisible disabilities, which are disabilities that are not immediately apparent or visible, but that typically impair a person’s daily life. According to Meuser, anxiety, depression, brain injuries, and chronic illnesses are all invisible disabilities, and are more common than many might assume.
“There [are] a lot of people who don’t feel like they’re disabled enough, because they’re not visibly disabled,” they said.
One of the main goals of the Invisible Disabilities campaign is to raise awareness and break some of the stigma surrounding such disabilities, specifically chronic illnesses that are not obvious to the eye.
Following this is the Dynamic Disabilities campaign, which will raise awareness for chronic disabilities that fluctuate in their intensity. For example, folks whose use of mobility aids might fluctuate from day to day, depending on the individual’s need. A key part of this campaign week will be advocating for more accessible university resources and policy for students with dynamic disabilities.
“[When] Kevin Hall … needed to make [the] Senate virtual, did they do it? Yes. Were they going to do it for the disabled students who need to go in for attendance? No,” said Meuser. “Those are the kinds of inequalit[ies] we’re talking about.”
To Meuser, increased membership in the SSD is the ultimate goal, and more specifically, helping UVic students understand that there is room for them if they self-identify as disabled. They can join the society for crafternoons at the SSD’s headquarters, which is located on the main floor of the SUB, for campus strolls, or even a juice box and a chat with one of the SSD team members.
Everyone who self-identifies as disabled is welcome in the society, and the SSD’s upcoming campaign weeks are an easy way to dip a curious toe in the water.
“I have people come up to me constantly asking … ‘Am I disabled enough to be in your community?’” Meuser said. “Chances are if you’re already having that conversation with yourself … you’ve named it … you just need to feel valid.”