The students at Oregon State University have indicated that there is a need on this campus for a Disability Resource Center and an International Student Center. The Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) appreciate and commend the students who have reached out to us and many others in OSU administration to discuss this need. We, as your student government, are committed to making this happen. Programs such as these, however, require a lot of research and needs assessment, and take time to be fully established. Therefore, we have allocated funding for two student positions for each of these centers to run a pilot program next year.
The idea is to have a lounge space on campus where students can come and find community. The student workers will put on events and programming and gather data on how many students are utilizing the spaces, conduct a needs assessment, determine what type of programming is getting traction, and collect student input on what these spaces should look like in the long run. This will enable us to determine the kind of physical space and other resources we would need, learn about what programs and events should be organized, as well as determine the staffing model and required budget to support these programs.
The Disability Resource Center will be a welcoming and accessible space for students with disabilities and their allies. People with disabilities are considered the largest minority group in the country. More than 1 out of 5 Americans have a disability and nationally, more than 10% of students have some kind of disability, but only ⅓ of those will graduate college within 8 years of enrolling due to a lack of support and resources, which can be further complicated by negative social stigmas surrounding disability. The Association on Higher Education and Disability strongly advocates for Disability Cultural Centers on college campuses. Disability Cultural/Resource centers are already available at many universities in America, including the University of Washington. There is a critical need to move away from the historical medical model which views disability as pathology and focuses on managing symptoms, to a more social model that recognizes disability as a common and valid aspect of the human experience and recognizes people with disabilities as a cultural identity. This space will serve to start that conversation and show students that they are welcome at OSU. Students would also not need to provide documented evidence or register as a person with a disability to get support from this space which is a huge barrier and forms a basis of discrimination for them. This space will also allow others in the OSU community to learn more about disability and foster a supportive environment.
For more details, please review the draft proposal being developed by the Congressional Projects Committee and students from Disability Student Union.
The International Student Center would serve as a one-stop shop for international students. It will establish a "living room" for international students to connect with each other, as well as create a bridge between domestic and international students. It will provide a social space for community building and gatherings, and be a central space for various meetings and events focused on intercultural activities. The focus of events and programming will be directed towards the interests of international students to make them feel welcome and establish a sense of belonging. It will serve to develop a network of support for international students to help their transition to OSU and the US and to ease their acclimation to culture, as well as integrate international and domestic students especially those who are planning to study abroad, studying foreign languages, cultures, and countries.
ASOSU is searching for 4 paid part-time Project Coordinators and additional volunteers to facilitate operations and activities at the DCC and ISC pilot projects. To learn more and apply for the Project Coordinator openings, visit the OSU employment page. For volunteering opportunities, email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.