HUNTINGTON, W.V. -- Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Marshall University participated in their second annual Disability Awareness Day Tuesday. During the event, members simulated disabilities in a wheelchair.
Disabilities Awareness Day was established by the Mountain State Centers for Independent Living more than 20 years ago. The center is a community-based organization providing advocacy, networking and resources to people with disabilities and their families. The center is a place where people with disabilities are free to meet, share, learn, and plan lives of greater independence and self-reliance.
The wheelchairs were delivered to Zeta Pi by Mountain State on Tuesday morning. The brothers who participated experienced what it was like to be in a wheelchair for the day and soon learned it was harder than they expected.
Brother Jacob Adkins said the day was about something different than raising money and promoting awareness for the cause.
“Today was about actually feeling what it was like to become the people we help,” Adkins said. “Walking a mile in their shoes is a completely different experience, especially since we were in wheelchairs.”
The brothers said it was hard being in a wheelchair and challenging maneuvering to class. The wheelchairs set them apart from others on campus.
This was the first year for Ramon Urbaez to participate in the awareness day. Urbaez said this was his first time in a wheelchair. He found it difficult because he had to work his whole body in order to go up inclines on campus.
Mountain State worked with the fraternity with several events in the past year. The fraternity will also participate in the Rock and Roll Disability Awareness Parade on Thursday. The parade starts at 10 a.m. on Fourth Avenue in Huntington.Mountain State Community Resource Advocate, Kelly Simpson, said this is a good eye opener for students to see the brothers in the wheelchairs and ask them questions.
“People in wheelchairs are the same as everyone else. They just have to use the wheelchairs instead of using their legs,” Simpson said. “We don’t get a lot of volunteers so we are passionate that the fraternity takes time to help us.”
Pi Kappa Phi will host disability awareness events throughout the semester and will participate in a 24-hour bike-a-thon to raise awareness for people with disabilities.
This article originally appeared in The Parthenon, Marshall University's student newspaper.
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