We love INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY at York College . . . and it shows!

By the Center for Students with Disabilities

York College is a thriving, active campus because our students have always created an inclusive and diverse culture. York’s strong appreciation for a student body full of varied personalities, characteristics, qualities, and abilities is quite visible on and off campus. 

Recently, the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) demonstrated the above with a polished photography exhibition and a day trip to the US Open, watching the Junior Girls Tennis Championship match and, for one lucky Cardinal counselor, having a selfie with the champion.       

The photography exhibition officially opened September 8, with a breakfast reception fit for a Queen, or President. Delicious cheese filled danishes, red velvet cake, and a very festive “happy birthday!” cheer for a member of the Student Government Association (SGA), were welcome additions to the event. President Eanes, Vice President Williams, and many other administrators and professors came to see the photographs of York’s amazing CSD students. 

The photo exhibition, appropriately entitled My Strength and My Goals. ONE YORK!, featured a selection of very personable, outgoing CSD students. As instructed during the photo session, each student was asked to ‘express’ their personality in the photo with a unique gesture and/or welcoming smile. The photos are singular, fun and assorted. 

My Strengths and My Goals. ONE YORK! is a true depiction of the unity, inclusion, and diversity seen on York’s campus. The exhibition does not stop there; it has an ‘interactive’ element. Throughout the semester, we have York celebration flags for any students, faculty, and staff to write whatever accomplishment they would like to share, and/or why they like York, and pin the flag with their message on the bulletin board in the hallway outside of the CSD Offices. We would love everyone to write a few words of encouragement and share with the students by being ‘a part of’ the exhibition. 

Later that week, Charmaine Townsell, the Director of Student Wellness, organized a day trip to the US Open to coincide with the Junior Wheelchair Championship matches. Once again, York’s Cardinals from the CCSD (CUNY Coalition for Students with Disabilities) at York’s chapter were flying high. First, the Cardinals saw all the history and monuments of the tennis world displayed at the National Tennis Center, then the entire group settled on the grounds, seated at an umbrella covered table just a few feet away from the Wheelchair Junior Championship match, while also watching the mixed doubles wheelchair tennis semi-final on the big screen. The matches were an exciting and aggressive display of talent. York’s students cheered as Jade Lanai won the Junior Girls Wheelchair Championship, and it was Dr. Truett Lee Vaigneur Jr. who quickly snapped a selfie with the new US Open champ.  

The students, while eating chicken fingers and ice cream, enjoyed the warm afternoon air, the impeccable skill of the wheelchair players, and socializing with each other. For York, it was a week full of recognition and celebration. Whether in framed photographs in an exhibition, or casually bonding while cheering on the wheelchair tennis champion, York students are holding their own. Whether on and off campus, it is always ONE YORK!  

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