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Pepperdine Community Members with Disabilities to Host Fifth Annual Disability Awareness Week with Student-Organized Events

Disability Awareness Week

From Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15, 2024, members of the Pepperdine community will host the fifth annual Disability Awareness Week, a student-organized and student-staffed event designed to educate the campus community about disability issues, as well as to promote disability pride.

Maddie Beadle, the lead student organizer of Disability Awareness Week activities, is a disabled student at Seaver with several chronic conditions. "Disability Awareness Week is about creating a beloved community," shares Beadle. "This event has continued to grow and be successful because of the amazing and dedicated women that were in this role before me, Mackenzie Mazen (MBA ’21) and Emily McNutt (’22), and all the Pepperdine offices and organizations that have supported and sponsored it over the years." 

According to Beadle, the cross-discipline and cross-department interaction throughout the week’s events provides a creative approach to recognizing a need for accessibility and awareness. “These events reach far beyond the classroom and impart practical skills that are supportive in navigating all aspects of life,” she says. "Most people will need to advocate for themselves at one point in their lives, and the goal of many of these events is to help students take on challenges in constructive and direct ways and reduce stigma."

Maria Arguelles, a Seaver College senior and disability activist, believes that educating others is the first step in creating change and Disability Awareness Week is an opportunity to teach fellow students through interactive panels and tailored events. "The University’s community of people with disabilities feels small, and having Disability Awareness Week increases visibility of those who have a disability on campus while creating an awareness of the barriers that the community of people who have disabilities at Pepperdine experiences,” Arguelles says. “Having a space where we can celebrate those with disabilities and elevate their voices is invaluable in creating an inclusive environment at Pepperdine."

Elizabeth Pode, a career coach at the Graziadio Business School and disability advocate, adds that the week’s events spotlight a group in the Pepperdine community whose struggles and differences deserve to be seen and heard. "As a disabled staff member, I believe that showcasing the vibrant and engaged disabled community on Pepperdine's campus is imperative to building our diverse identity. Often, disabled people are left out of the conversation surrounding minorities, but we represent a fairly large population across all of our academic programs and departments."

The Pepperdine community is invited to participate in the following Disability Awareness Week events:

Information Tabling with Trivia 

Monday, March 11 to Friday, March 15 | 10 AM to 2 PM | Lower Mullin Town Square

Stop by to learn more about disability and access and enjoy a free awareness cookie. These cookies’ colors will correspond to support a particular medical condition and will come with an informational handout. The awareness cookies, provided by Maddy Bear Bakes, are gluten-free, vegan, and free of all top-eight allergens. Attendees can also pick up informational cards, register for a disability-related book giveaway, and play trivia games to win raffle prizes. 

The table will also provide examples of access items that students can make with the 3D printer at the Genesis Lab from 11 AM to 4 PM. Please reach out to lauren.haberstock@pepperdine.edu for more information about the Genesis Lab. 

Cultures of Critical Transformation and Visual Accessibility with Chad Iwertz Duffy

Monday, March 11 | 4 to 5:30 PM | Weisman Museum

Chad Iwertz Duffy (’08), assistant professor of English and director of Pepperdine’s Social Action and Justice Program, invites the community to participate in the work of image description, a tool that can increase accessibility and transform inclusivity by offering tips and definitions, and can build visual accessibility using materials in collaboration with the Weisman Museum. This workshop encourages participants to incorporate the foundations of access and accessibility in their everyday lives.

Accommodation and Accessibility in the Workplace

Tuesday, March 12 | Noon to 2 PM | BPC 189

Join an interactive discussion about disability in the workplace featuring panelists Elizabeth Pode, disability activist and career coach at the Graziadio Business School; Mickey Triffo (MA ’20), accessibility specialist at the Office of Student Accessibility; and Mary Goodwin-Oquendo, an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University School of Law, who will discuss navigating job interviews, accommodation, and other workplace issues through the lens of disability. This event will be useful to anyone in the career-planning and career-exploration process.

Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution Movie Viewing

Tuesday, March 12 | 6:30 to 9 PM | Elkins Auditorium 

Watch the 2020 documentary film, Crip Camp: A Disability Revolution. Written and directed by James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham, this film chronicles the true story of a group of teens with disabilities who met at a summer camp. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion featuring Pepperdine community members.

Activist in Action Panel 

Wednesday, March 13 | 11:30 AM to 1 PM | Surfboard Room (Payson Library 2nd floor)

Attend a panel presentation featuring Pepperdine community members with disabilities discussing their own efforts in disability visibility and activism. The panelists will speak about their experiences, work, and dreams on and off campus. This panel will be moderated by associate provost Jennifer Smith. Virtual participation will be available.

American Sign Language (ASL) Class

Wednesday, March 13 | 5:30 to 6:30 PM | AC 290

Mimi Dao, resident director in the Office of Housing and Residence Life, will lead an introductory workshop that provides background and context on ASL, along with instruction on the ASL alphabet and basic vocabulary. Virtual participation will be available.

Accessible Yoga

Thursday, March 14 | 9 to 10:30 AM | The Light House Patio

Participate in a therapeutic and accessible yoga practice made for all bodies, led by professional yoga instructor Kat Ibarra. Attendees may bring their own personal yoga mat, but equipment will be provided for all attendees. This event is sponsored by Campus Recreation and RISE. Virtual participation will be available.

Self-Advocacy Workshop 

Thursday, March 14 | 6 to 8 PM | BPC 189 

Elizabeth Pode, disability activist and career coach at the Graziadio Business School, will lead an interactive workshop about ways community members can practice self-advocacy through collaborative community formation, strategic planning, and collective action. Refreshments will be provided from Sweet Laurel Bakery. Virtual participation will be available.

Krip-Hop Nation

Friday, March 15 | 4 to 6 PM | Fireside Room

Hear from Leroy Moore, a writer, poet, community activist, and a hip-hop and music lover. Born with cerebral palsy, Moore cofounded Krip-Hop Nation, a movement that uses hip-hop as a means of expression for people with disabilities. In this interactive session, attendees will dive deep into the Krip-Hop world through new terminology, concepts, correct lyrics, and videos. 

Neurodiversity Presentation 

Friday, March 15 | 6 to 7 PM | BPC 188

The Pepperdine Neurodiversity Association will share helpful information about neurodiversity—the many differences in the ways people perceive, experience, and interact with the world around them. Topics will include what it means to be neurodivergent, using person-first versus identity-first language, the value of using neurologically inclusive language, and how to create sensory-safe spaces. Virtual participation will be available.

For more information about Disability Awareness Week events, follow Community Engagement and Service on Instagram at @pepperdineserves or email Christin Shatzer Román.