February 22, 2024
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Faculty and staff recognized for supporting students with disabilities

Services for Students with Disabilities hosted the brunch and reception held in Old Union Hall

Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose introduced B. Jean Fairbairn who presented the B. Jean Fairbairn Access Award to Jessica Treadwell, assistant director of Residential Life. Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose introduced B. Jean Fairbairn who presented the B. Jean Fairbairn Access Award to Jessica Treadwell, assistant director of Residential Life.
Vice President for Student Affairs Brian Rose introduced B. Jean Fairbairn who presented the B. Jean Fairbairn Access Award to Jessica Treadwell, assistant director of Residential Life. Image Credit: Laura Reindl.

Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) held its Recognition Reception March 30, 2023. Students registered with SSD submitted the names of more than 40 faculty and staff from across campus they wished to recognize for going above and beyond to accommodate and support Binghamton University students with disabilities. The honorees were invited to a brunch held in Old Union Hall in The Union, followed by a recognition ceremony. President Harvey Stenger, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and Enrollment Management Donald Loewen and the vice presidents and deans of those being honored were also in attendance.

The names of the honorees were displayed throughout the brunch, each accompanied by a student-written nomination, and two students spoke during the ceremony, sharing their experiences with supportive faculty and staff. Christen Szymanski, director of SSD, presented the annual Beyond Compliance Award to Michelle Ponzcek, director of course building and academic space management.

“Michelle’s commitment to ensuring equal access for students with disabilities is often seen, yet not heard about often enough,” said Szymanski. “She assures that classrooms are accessible for all students. Whether coordinating the placement of specific furniture, installing door openers or assistive listening devices, or adjusting the location of classrooms so that the location is accessible, she is a relentless supporter and advocate of SSD-registered students.”

B. Jean Fairbairn, founder and former director of Services for Students with Disabilities until her retirement in 2016, presented the B. Jean Fairbairn Access Award to Jessica Treadwell, assistant director of residential life – student support. Treadwell partners with SSD to ensure that residential students with disabilities have their needs met both in and out of the classroom, particularly in times of crisis.

The event ended with Szymanski recognizing the newly formed Disabled Student Union and praising the Student Association’s proactive allyship this year in partnering with SSD to make their programming and communication accessible to all students.

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