Campus Life

UWF promotes Disability Awareness

Serving approximately 400 students who have a physical or learning disability, the University of West Florida strives to provide a welcoming, inclusive, accommodating and supportive environment for all of its students, regardless of their needs. In honor of National Disability Awareness Month observed during October, UWF will host several special events aimed at raising awareness and understanding of the disabilities many individuals face.

“This year’s theme for National Disability Awareness Month is ‘Expectation + Opportunity = Full Participation,” said Catherine Powell, director of the UWF Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance Office. “This is the eighth year that UWF has hosted events in observance of the month. All activities will include students, faculty and staff, and the public is invited to participate as well.”

Festivities will kick-off with Disability Awareness Day Oct. 7 from 8:45 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the University Commons Auditorium, Building 22. UWF President Judy Bense will be the keynote speaker for the program. Other highlights will include guest speakers, a vendor fair, giveaways and prizes. Additionally, an experiential workshop and forum, organized in a town hall format, will be facilitated by Sue Straughn, news anchor, WEAR TV Channel 3 News. “The purpose for the workshop’s simulated activity will be to give volunteers without disabilities opportunities to gain personal insights into the experience of being a person with a disability,” said Powell. “Equipment such as wheel chairs, crutches and blind folds will be available.”

UWF’s observance of National Disability Awareness month will continue Oct. 13 with a Disability Awareness Awards Luncheon to be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in University Commons Conference Center, Building 22. The Annual ADA Award of Recognition, which honors UWF administrators, faculty and staff members who contribute to the spirit and challenges of ADA, will be presented by President Bense during the luncheon. Awards also will be presented by local dignitaries and other organizations and agencies. Tickets cost $15 per person.

UWF Disability Awareness Month events will conclude with a Wheelchair Basketball Game Oct. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the UWF Field House. Admission is free. The Mobile Patriots will face UWF men’s and women’s basketball teams, Greek organizations, faculty and staff, the Business Leadership Network and Roy Jones Jr.’s wheelchair basketball team. Festivities will include half-time entertainment, prizes, giveaways and refreshments. Linda “Sonshine” Moorer, Midday Diva at Magic 106.1, will be the game’s announcer.

Students who participate in all Disability Awareness events will earn volunteer service hours, Powell said.

For more information about Disability Awareness Month events, contact Powell at (850) 857-6080, e-mail or visit

Written by Susie Forrester, University Marketing Communications