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Dean of Students

Dinner in the Dark to see things differently

Nick Thompson/Photographer The Braille Birds RSO serves to advocate and provide opportunities for the integration of individuals with visual impairments.

Nick Thompson/Photographer
The Braille Birds RSO serves to advocate and provide opportunities for the integration of individuals with visual impairments.

Imagine going through a day without the ability to watch television or see the faces you are speaking to.

From 6 to 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Alumni Center in Normal, Dinner in the Dark will give attendees the opportunity to experience only a small portion of how life for the visually impaired must be.

All guests will be greeted at the door and blindfolded before being escorted to their seats. Then they will munch on their vegetables, salad, rolls and ham or chicken without the ability to use their sense of sight.

The event is hosted by Braille Birds, a Registered Student Organization at ISU, to help raise awareness about visual impairments.

Tickets will cost $15 for students and $25 for adults. All funds raised at the event will allow Braille Birds to provide services to those with visual impairments in the community.

Lauren Mehalek, the president of Braille Birds, is hopeful that the guests walk away with a little more knowledge about the visually impaired.

“We are hoping that attendees understand that people who are blind are still able to be independent members of society. Being blind does not have to be limiting,” Mehalek said.

Events that promote physical disabilities, specifically blindness, are exactly what Braille Birds was created to host.

The RSO’s mission statement says, “The purpose Braille Birds is to advocate for and provide community services that facilitate the integration of individuals with visual impairments at ISU, in Bloomington-Normal and throughout Illinois.”

Braille Birds has been on campus for five years. However, it has only been an active RSO on campus for the past school year. Katie Hansen, faculty sponsor of Braille Birds, trusts that this club will have a positive outcome on the community it reaches.

“I believe that the more awareness any disability category attains, the less fear and confusion surrounds it. I think that education is a vital tool in order to accept people with disabilities and realize they are capable people who can live successfully and independently. Braille Birds is helping to provide students at ISU with that education,” Hansen said.

While Dinner in the Dark is Braille Birds’ first large scale event, they hope to host many more fundraisers to spread awareness about visual impairments in the future.

More information on Dinner in the Dark can be found by visiting  the Braille Birds Facebook page or by emailing Lauren Mehalek at lemehal@ilstu.edu.

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