Student Alliance raises awareness about disabilities

Activities over several days included tabling, a film, affinity space kickoff and a memorial service on the library lawn

April 20, 2023
Staff/student report
candle photo

This photo shows a candle-lighting during Friday’s ceremony on the Durick Library lawn and steps. Madeline Shanely ’22 is lighting Taylor Galgay ’24’s memorial candle. In the background are various students including Amy Hylen ’25, Dakota Thomas ’24, Public Safety Officers, and Resident Directors Kailyn Root & James Baker. Molly Thompson ’23  and Jordan Baker ’23 are beside Galgay.

The Student Disability Advocacy Alliance at Saint Michael’s College recently organized what student Alliance leader Taylor Galgay ’24 called “an amazing week of advocacy, diversity, and inclusion” for Disability Awareness Week.

“On Tuesday, April 11 we had a successful kickoff event for our affinity space in Alliot 205, which is looking beautiful,” Galgay said. “Special thanks to the Accessibility Office for funding the beautiful décor, and to the Center for Women and Gender for funding snacks for that event. We were able to chat and listen to music, strengthening our bonds. We had deep conversations and created belonging.”

She said that on Wednesday, Alliance members “had a beautiful screening of the film Crip Camp with an amazing conversation following afterward. We shared personal experiences and discussed tangible advocacy work that we can accomplish on campus.” She gave special thanks to the Equity Board, VPA, and all others who helped fund this event.

Thursday’s activities featured tabling in Alliot, “and were able to nourish students with leftover fruit and snacks from our film while advocating and spreading awareness of our mission,” Galgay said.


From left to right during the Friday ceremony at the library entrance: Jordan Baker ’23, Professor Kirby, Taylor Galgay ’24, Molly Thompson ’23.

For a culminating highlight on Friday, she said, “we had an amazing memorial service on the library lawn. We shared the names of various individuals who identified as having a disability and honored their lives and their stories. We had the generous help of Public Safety who did all the heavy lifting and set up our microphone. Thank you to Public Safety for helping make tonight a success! “

She further thanked “all of the wonderful volunteers who worked hard to make this week happen, we truly couldn’t have done this without the collective assistance,” and members of the campus community who attended the week’s events and listened – “Listened to our voices, our stories, and joined us in fighting ableism. Special thanks to SDAA, Professor Katie Kirby (philosophy) and Toni Messuri (Academic Support Services staff) for their unwavering support throughout this week, and hard work.

“We have gathered an amazing support network, and I look forward to all the astounding, transformative, and beautiful things to come from SDAA in the future,” said Galgay.

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