Paul An is determined to increase disability awareness and is doing his part in uniting people of all abilities through the event United With Differences.
An, a fourth-year business administration student, was born with a disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), which destroys muscles and reduces life span.
An and his team have been planning the event for over one year by pitching the idea in early April of last year, reaching out to different organizations on campus to help with the event and creating a speaker application for students, faculty and alumni.
Professor Shayda Kafai, student Cheyenne Caballero, professor Rodney Hume-Dawson, alumna Acacia Kapusta and guest/keynote speaker Steph Aiello will be sharing their stories to empower others about their visible and nonvisible disabilities.
Brenda Calderon, a fifth-year biology major and student activities supervisor for Associated Students Inc.’s (ASI) Bronco Events and Activities Team (BEAT), has been collaborating with the United With Differences Team.
“Collaborating on this event has been a great experience for BEAT,” she said. “We support the mission that United With Differences seeks to provide our campus community, as inclusivity, acceptance and unity are topics that BEAT aims to infuse into all our programming.”
Abin Thomas, a fourth-year civil engineering student and student interest council (SIC) president, has been helping An with the event since August.
“It is a very powerful story that can really just unify everyone around and it’s like wow we are all the same no matter what,” Thomas said.
“Come out to the event if you want to be inspired, be encouraged, and if you want to know that you are not alone in this journey that is life and to keep moving forward no matter what the difficulty is.”
An said he is very excited about the event he envisioned over a year ago.
“It’s becoming a reality and that’s amazing,” An said.
All donations at the event will go directly to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
The event is free and will be located in Building 35 in room 2611, Ursa Major Suite.