News Release

Trish Downing

Southeastern sponsors Disability Awareness Week

Contact: Rene Abadie


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     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University will host Disability Awareness Week on campus Feb. 21 – 24 with a goal of increasing awareness of the challenges disabled students face every day.
     Sponsored by the Office of Disability Services and Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society, the weeklong event will begin at 6 p.m. at the University Center Monday, Feb. 21, with an address by Trish Downing, a physically challenged athlete and the first female paraplegic to complete an Ironman distance triathlon. 
     Downing’s address is sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Office of Greek Life. She will share stories of her athletic adventures and the lessons that have gotten her across multiple finish lines. A competitive cyclist from 1997-2000, she was hit head-on by a car while training on her bicycle in Golden, Colo. The accident left her a paraplegic and dependent on a wheelchair.
     “Trish’s motivational message is something that can inspire all of us,” said Kay Maurin, director of the Office of Disability Services. “Her story is one that is applicable to anyone striving to succeed in the face of obstacles in their daily lives.” 
     The address is free and open to the public.
Tuesday the Delta Alpha Pi Honors Society will host a jambalaya dinner from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Student Union. Tickets are $7 and all proceeds will benefit scholarships for students with disabilities.
     “We’re really excited to be hosting this event,” says Johnny Braud, president of the organization. “We are working hard to give students with disabilities opportunities to excel in school and to recognize them for their accomplishments in college and beyond.”
Wednesday the Disability Awareness Week Expo will be held from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. in the Student Union. Students will be able to visit with different Southeastern departments and organizations to learn what resources are available for students with disabilities.
     “I hope this event will not only raise awareness about students with disabilities,” said Maurin, but also demonstrate what they can do well and how they contribute to Southeastern in so many ways.”
     Thursday will be the new member induction and officer instillation of Delta Alpha Pi at 5:30 p.m. in the Student Union room 233. Southeastern’s chapter was formed last year. The Greek letters stand for D for Disability, A for Achievement and P for Pride. Guest speaker will be Jeff Day, owner of Spoga Fitness Studio and a Southeastern alumnus. 
     For more information on the events, contact the Office of Disability Services at 985-549-2247.

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