Earlier this semester, the Michigan State University Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD) hosted its annual BOND Transitions Program! The event was a great success and significantly helped MSU students with autism adjust to life on campus.
Announcing Spartan Study sessions for Fall 2021! This is an opportunity for RCPD students to find tutoring and study assistance with their classes from other MSU students in a peer-educator/study group format. Hosted by members of MSU's Tower Guard honor society, these weekly study sessions will cover various commonly requested subjects, outlined below.
Every year, Homecoming Court recognizes the brightest and most exemplary leaders of the senior class at Michigan State University. These students are hand-selected to represent the diverse student body at MSU through attending various events. The 2021 Court consisted of 10 students, two of which were Tower Guard alumni. Maddy Niblock, secretary of the Tower Guard Class of 2019-2020, and Eliot Haddad, general member of the Tower Guard class of 2019-2020, represented the prestige of Tower Guard through their time on Homecoming Court.
On September 7, 2021, Tower Guard held its annual May’s Morning Sing induction ceremony, welcoming the newest class of members to the organization. Ishaan Modi, 2020-2021 Tower Guard Vice President, and Tushya Mehta, 2020-2021 Tower Guard Secretary, coordinated this event under the guidance of Liz Fuller, RCPD Leadership Development Specialist and lead Tower Guard advisor.
Michigan Supreme Court Justice Richard Bernstein will be here at MSU on Tuesday, October 12th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. to reflect on his experience with working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for three months. He will share his perspective on living in Israel for three months in 2021 and the efforts he made to forge relationships and develop a common understanding of the struggles faced by those with disabilities.
Whenever one thinks of MSU’s Tower Guard, whether they are familiar with the organization or not, they immediately think of Beaumont Tower. This iconic monument on campus represents the legacy that Tower Guard, one of the oldest student organizations on campus, takes pride in. Mandy Zuckerman, member of the Tower Guard class of 2020-2021, realized that for an organization that represents accessibility and inclusivity, the space in which they meet, Beaumont Tower, is not accessible itself.
Recently, Michigan State University introduced GoodMaps to campus, improving accessibility in indoor navigation. Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology and coordinator of this initiative, explained that GoodMaps is a digital mapping app that uses LiDAR (3D laser scanning), image recognition, and positioning technology to create maps for indoor navigation. This allows students to have accurate, turn-by-turn directions when searching for a specific location within a building.
Recently, Michigan State University was recognized as one of the top allergy-accommodating schools nationwide in Allergic Living’s article, “Colleges That Go the Distance for Students with Food Allergies.”
Shaw and Hannah are well-known names across the MSU campus, recognized for significant contributions in leadership at the University. Hannah Zimmerman, great-great granddaughter of May Shaw and eleventh MSU President Robert Shaw, and great granddaughter of his successor John Hannah, recently joined Liz Fuller (RCPD Leadership Development Specialist and Lead Tower Guard Advisor), Madeleine Russell (2020-2021 Tower Guard President), and Ishaan Modi (2020-2021 Tower Guard Vice President) for a meeting inside Beaumont Tower to discuss her upbringing and future endeavors while learning about her family legacy at MSU.
MSU students take large strides in advancing technology for the ALS community. The team, consisting of Claire Kendell, Jessica Stevons, Sean Arnoldt, Don Gorton, Nicholas Boblet, and Brennan Koehler, sought to upgrade the original MSU SCATIR (Self-Calibrating Auditory Tone Infrared) Switch. The team was led and sponsered by Stephen Blosser, former RCPD employee.
Over the past month, the MSU IT Academic Technology team offered several webinars for educators that focused on accessibility. Of the nine webinars offered, three were accompanied or led by RCPD staff Leslie Johnson, Assistant Director of Assistive Technology, and Ashley Maloff, Chronic Health Ability Access Specialist.
The Bosco MSU/MRS Careers Collaborative is a partnership between the MSU RCPD, MSU Career Services Network (CSN), MSU Rehabilitation Counseling, and Michigan Rehabilitation Services (MRS) that focuses on career transition for students with disabilities. As a program that explores the development of professional skills and effective communication, the Careers Collaborative works to assist students in securing high-quality employment. While facilitating this transition, Careers Collaborative has recently provided internship opportunities to students--interested in Rehabilitation Counseling, Psychology, Special Education, Disability Studies, or other related fields--for the support of the RCPD.
In 2020, Tower Guard members were introduced to Impact Teams, which serve as smaller focus groups within the larger membership. Each team is dedicated to a specific area of service to the RCPD, giving Tower Guard members the opportunity to understand the depth of disability services in a better light. One team that stood out this year in terms of their accomplishments was the Assistive Technologies Impact Team.
The RCPD’s Braille Technology Advantage Program provides students with an unparalleled opportunity to read and learn with braille on MSU’s campus, with innovative efforts driving the ability for braille to be delivered to students wherever they may be located. Now thanks to the Canute 360, the world’s first multi-line braille e-reader, RCPD students are granted even more educational possibilities.
The Tower Guard Shamrock 5K Run-Walk-Roll is an annual fundraising event that takes place on or around St. Patrick’s Day. Despite pandemic challenges which prevented the Shamrock 5k from being in-person this year, Tower Guard, the second-year student honor society that supports the Resource Center for Persons with Disabilities (RCPD), conducted a successful event in a virtual setting. The proceeds help fund equipment and supplies needed to operate the resource center.
MSU’s Department of Student Life is an office within the University that enhances our educational environment through the promotion of student rights and responsibilities. The annual Department of Student Life Leadership Awards Reception recognizes the outstanding efforts of students, advisors, and programs that provide opportunities for educational growth and self-assessment. This year, in a virtual 20th annual ceremony broadcasted on YouTube Premiere, RCPD Leadership Development Specialist Liz Fuller was recognized with the 2021 New Advisor of the Year award.
The Futures Collection is a novel approach to note-taking and study skills. Comprised of three specialized notebooks, this system is designed to address barriers that students face as a result of their learning or psychiatric disabilities. Leah Ellis, founder of the LeahMonet Philanthropic Foundation, felt that creating an organizational system that focused on habit development, experiential learning, and conceptualization would guide student success. We are pleased to announce that the Futures Collection is now widely available at the MSU Student Book Store (SBS)!
Michigan State University’s mission is to advance knowledge and transform lives. One Spartan, through her participation and dedication, decided to uphold this university mission and take it another step further. From Tower Guard executive board member to co-president of the Council of Students with Disabilities (CSD) to a member of the Honors College and Social Science Scholars program, Jasmine J. has continued to focus on the intersectionality of racism and ableism, fighting for a higher quality of student lives and social environments here at MSU.
Freedom Scientific is the world’s leading assistive technology manufacturer for people who are blind or visually impaired. Home to the renowned JAWS (Job Access with Speech), a robust screen reading software, and the Focus 40 Blue, a compact refreshable braille display, Freedom Scientific empowers independence for people with disabilities around the world. Recently, RCPD Director Michael Hudson was interviewed during a podcast by Freedom Scientific’s Glen Gordon, the architect behind JAWS, discussing the resource center, his experience with being blind, and the Braille Technology Advantage Program.