Freshmen form club in support of students with disabilities
Students with disabilities or in support of those with disabilities can now join Stand Up and Be Loud (SUBL), the first club of it’s kind, described by founder Josh Turbiak as a “safe haven for students to escape the hardships of the real world.”
Turbiak, a freshman nursing major, said that SUBL has two main missions on campus.
The first is to make students’ inabilities into their greatest abilities, and to not let their struggles define them. The second mission is to create a support system and second family for members of the club.
Turbiak used his own disability, Cerebral Palsy, as an example of the first mission.
“I contribute my hard work, ethic and persistence to my disability because without it, I wouldn’t have a legitimate reason to be a hard worker and persistent,” Turbiak said in an email.
The inspiration for SUBL came from a high school group, the Self-Advocacy Club, which Turbiak belonged to at James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell, N.J.
“The Self-Advocacy Club was a club that taught students with disabilities how to advocate for their needs,” Turbiak said. “But we did more than just that; we motivated each other to become a better person every day, we learned from each other and most importantly we were there for one another.”
Turbiak said that when he came to Seton Hall, he searched for an organization similar to the Self-Advocacy Club.
When he could not find one he decided to create SUBL for himself and the other students who needed it.
With the help of fellow freshmen founders Thomas Nowak, a communication major, Nicholas Coyle, a sports management major, and Taylor Cain, a diplomacy major, SUBL became an official organization on campus on Nov. 25. The club has more than 40 members on its email list and has a group of 20 to 35 members that come to the weekly meetings every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. in McNulty Hall room 101.
“Something special happens at these meetings, it is fun; we talk about problems in our lives, and we speak honestly and freely,”
Turbiak said. “I remember one meeting we just talked about the weekend, and we didn’t even touch the discussion topic. And that is okay, because I want the members to talk about whatever makes them feel comfortable and enjoy our time together.”
The last 20 minutes of the meetings are usually opened up for members who want to give a motivational speech and share their own personal story.
Along with this new support system for students with disabilities on campus, the Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) at Seton Hall “works with students with disabilities to ensure that they have equal access to all University programs and activities,” Angela Millman, DSS director, said.
The DSS page on Seton Hall’s website states that disabilities can range from physical impairments such as blindness and deafness, to psychiatric disabilities such as major depression and bipolar disorder.
“As the director of DSS, I think it is great that there is a new club on campus specifically aimed towards support of students with disabilities on campus,” Millman said. “People with disabilities are often a hidden minority, especially considering the majority of disabilities are invisible in nature. Any effort to bring students together and help them realize that they are not alone is worthwhile.”
“College is hard and stressful enough and for some students it is even harder,” Turbiak said. “SUBL is here to let every student know that they are not the only one facing these hardships and to provide them with necessary social tools to keep them motivated to work hard every single day.”
Ashley Turner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org