The Student Accessibility Resource Center (SOAR) seeks to improve accessibility and inclusivity on Furman’s campus. Typically, these pursuits are formal, varying from providing resources for students, testing accommodations, and more. This semester, however, SOAR is working to bring back a student-run organization that echoes their mission of inclusivity, fittingly named DREAM.
DREAM, which stands for Disability Rights, Education, Activation, and Mentorship, is a national organization that was created by students with disabilities for the purpose of advocating for other students with disabilities. While DREAM was founded to serve these individuals, it welcomes general education students who wish to be allies to the community of students with disabilities.
Elizabeth Palmer ’21, this year’s SOAR intern, and Chad Boltz, SOAR staff member, are spearheading the return of DREAM. Palmer shared that DREAM adamantly believes in cultivating culture, community, and pride for people with disabilities. “I was really excited about the opportunity to get DREAM up and running and felt confident that such an important organization would be successful on Furman’s campus,” Palmer elaborated.
The organization’s mission is to advance the opportunities of students with disabilities in post-secondary institutions. Some of DREAM’s specific goals are to increase accessibility, provide support and mentorship to campus disability groups as well as individual students, and well push for social and policy change. To accomplish these, goals Palmer shared that DREAM plans to host speakers on campus in the future that will educate our community and empower students with disabilities. Additionally, there will be events, socials and a mentorship program to aid incoming freshmen. These opportunities are intended to support and encourage Furman students to succeed by improving inclusion and self-advocacy.
SOAR is currently in the beginning stages of bringing DREAM back to Furman’s campus. Caroline Davis, the accessibility coordinator for SOAR, shared an email invitation to join DREAM with the student body on Mar. 24. Students who want to learn more can fill out this interest form and attend an upcoming interest meeting (date TBA).