Month: November 2017


Diversity Program of the Month
Living Invisible

School: Oakland University Region: GLACURH
Person in charge: Lauryn Doussett Nominator: Halle Haneckow

Target Population: 100 Time Needed to Organize: 30 days
Number of People in Attendance: 133 Date(s) of Program: 11/14/17
Number of People Needed to Organize: 11 Cost of Program: $400
On-Campus Population: 2,700 Chapter Size: 27

Origin of Program:

Oakland University's Residence Hall Association has a goal to create and put on programs that make a lasting impact on students, as well as being fun to attend and memorable. Educationally-driven programs are important, whether it be on campus resources on campus, diversity, philanthropy, or anything in between. RHA's Diversity and Inclusion coordinator, Lauryn, was to plan an event that focused on the two aspects highlighted in her title. This semester, she decided to create an event that was to teach about invisible illnesses, or disabilities we may not see with our own eyes. She also chose specific illnesses that may contain many misconceptions, allowing for the program to clear up those issues and give students an opportunity to learn about an illness they may not have understood in the past. It grew into a 'game of life' style program that would follow students as they progressed through life with such illnesses. Thus, Living Invisible was put on by RHA with support from Oakland University's Graham Health Center to great success.

Word Count: 171

Please give a short description of the program:

Living Invisible was intended to represent a 'real life game of life'. When attendees came in, they received a bag containing spoons and, after spinning a wheel to determine what invisible illness they would have in the game, a colored car to take with them on their journey. The illnesses focused on were dyslexia, bulimia, schizophrenia, celiac disease, and depression. Some students were also simply 'healthy' people without an illness. These illnesses would become their identity of sorts throughout the course of the program.

There were a total of five 'life' tables set up, which the attendees would move to in order. At each table, which represented different areas of life (i.e. college, work, etc), the attendees would learn how their illness would affect said area of life and either gain or lose the spoons they obtained at the start. These were to represent the Spoon Theory, or a representation of energy concerning lifelong illnesses. Some people were left with little to no spoons at the end, while others maintained a few. For example, at the job station, those who were healthy were told that they could attend a work retreat, and did not gain or lose spoons. However, those with bulimia were told that their boss wants them to seek help for their illness. They would lose a spoon at the table. These were factual and accurate descriptions of what may happen in each situation. An example of this educational aspect would be that someone with schizophrenia at their job would have less severe symptoms, as maintaining a job provides a constant.

Towards the end of the program, attendees participated in a few brief activities to further understand the disabilities. One example of such an activity was reading a sentence where the letters were written backwards and in reverse while being pressured to hurry, simulating the difficulties those with dyslexia may face on a daily basis. Attendees received pizza and drinks at the end as well and were given the opportunity to ask questions to any participant. The Graham Health Center on campus had people in attendance to answer questions and provide mental health information. Attendees were also given two raffle tickets that they could place into buckets to win different prizes. All prizes were mental-health based, such as relaxing coloring books, a white noise machine, stress balls, etc.

Word Count: 390

Goals of the program:

The goal of the program was to educate and inform attendees about invisible illnesses. Some of the illnesses focused on had many misconceptions - an example of this is schizophrenia. Almost every fact given with said illness was met with surprise, as many students do not understand what comes with having schizophrenia. There were elements of shock that came with every type of illness, which built curiosity and interest. With the information provided, many students were able to further their understanding and ask thought-provoking questions. Utilizing kinesthetic learning techniques by giving attendees the chance to walk around and ask questions directly, as well as act as though they were going through life rather than simply being an information session, knowledge was obtained in a unique and interesting way. Another goal was to build connections on campus between RHA and other students. As bridges are gapped between students and housing associations, strong connections can be made that can lead to further interaction, more participation in housing events/meetings, or even future housing employees.

Word Count: 172

Positive and lasting effects of the program:

At this program, RHA members received many compliments about the impact. Attendees praised the information they obtained, the method of which they learned, and the overall atmosphere of the program. Many attendees had fun while they learned, and were eager for more information from the Graham Health Center or anyone who would answer their questions. At each table, an RHA member was happy to excitedly give information, and the enthusiasm truly made for a fun environment. The joy that radiated from each person involved made attendees much more interested in the program. The giveaways were also praised, as they were not random - each had an intended purpose for mental health, whether it be assisting with anxiety, sleep trouble, overall stress, and more. One student in particular approached Lauryn, the organizer, and told her how happy he was to have a further focus on one of the illnesses spoken of, as it made him feel included. Many students were positively impacted by this program, and had great things to say.

Word Count: 170

Short evaluation of the program:

This program went exceptionally well - far better than what was expected. Many more attendees came than anticipated, although thankfully there was still plenty of supplies and food to accommodate them. This meant that a larger majority of students were reached and impacted. The knowledge obtained by attendees was important and worth talking about. There are symptoms associated with invisible illnesses that may be hidden to those who have said illnesses, and an event like this helped students realize more about themselves or others. All RHA members were joyful and encouraging of everyone who attended. Questions that were asked were answered without hesitation, showing a knowledge of the subject at hand and great preparation. There were no hiccups in the program, and it seemed to flow extremely well. There were many people who were very happy about this program, including the nominator. People laughed, cried, asked questions, and wished it wouldn't end so that they could continue to learn.

Word Count: 159

How could this program be adapted to other campuses?

This program could easily be taken to any campus. There are hundreds of types of individual illnesses, and this program could be tailored to specific illnesses that a school may be struggling with. If there is an abundance of depression evident in students, there could be even more information about depression. Anxiety is another great invisible illness to speak on, and could easily inform hundreds of students. The supplies to put on the program were not expensive, and prizes can vary from large to small, whatever the budget may permit. If there is a health center on campus, using them for further information is a great way to connect students to another resource. Any campus in the country, or truly the world, could use this formula to make an exciting and informative program to help bring awareness to all kinds of invisible disabilities.

Word Count: 144

Date of entry into database: 2017-11-27 12:21:15

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