Freney headlines SCU disability day

Paralympic gold medallist Jacqueline Freney will be guest of honour at ’Come as U are’, SCU’s celebration of the accomplishments of people with a disability.
Paralympic gold medallist Jacqueline Freney will be guest of honour at ’Come as U are’, SCU’s celebration of the accomplishments of people with a disability. Getty Images

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Jacqueline Freney will be guest of honour at 'Come as U are', Southern Cross University's celebration of the accomplishments of people with a disability next Monday.

The inaugural 'Come as U are' event, to be held at the Lismore campus, coincides with the International Day of People with Disability.

Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin will use the occasion to speak about the federal government's National Disability Insurance Scheme. The NDIS Bill will be introduced into Parliament this week.

The University's Pro Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Andrew McAuley said gaining a university degree can enable students to realise their potential.

"At Southern Cross University we are working hard to embrace the diversity of our students. We want to build an inclusive University where high academic achievement is the focus, regardless of disability," he said.

"Thanks to the London Paralympic Games, 2012 has been a terrific year for drawing attention to positive images of people with disability, including local sportswoman Jacqueline Freney. We are pleased to be marking the International Day of People with Disability in what I hope will become an annual event."

Along with special guests Ms Saffin and Ms Freney, 'Come as U are' features musical performances and an exhibition of local disability support and advocacy organisations.

The event is wheelchair accessible with Auslan interpreters.

The community is welcome to attend.

'Come as U are' program:
12.00pm - Official welcome by Southern Cross University Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Lee
12.10pm - Address by federal Page MP Janelle Saffin on the National Disability Insurance Scheme
12.25pm - Address by Jacqueline Freney, 8 x Paralympic Gold Medallist, 2012 Australian Paralympian of the Year and 2012 NSW Female Athlete of the Year
12.40pm - Auslan demonstration
12.50pm - Bandwagon, local 12-member band featuring performers with disabilities. Bandwagon was formed at RED Inc. RED Inc (Realising Every Dream Incorporated) aims to see young people with disabilities viewed as valued and respected community members, experiencing a fulfilling range of life opportunities and choices.

Dr Jonathan Munro, senior manager, Student Health Services, said the University was thrilled to welcome Jacqueline Freney to speak about her inspirational achievements in London and back home where she was recently crowned Australian Paralympian of the Year and NSW Female Athlete of the Year.

"SCU is hosting this event not only to celebrate the accomplishments of people with a disability but to also come together with various local community organisations," said Dr Munro.

Local high school students and their families have been invited to 'Come as U are' to access information and organisations that may be there to support them into adulthood.

Professor McAuley said for students with a disability there were perceived barriers to study.

"An event like 'Come as U are' can assist in breaking down those barriers so that students with disability see that University may well be a choice for them and there are services available to help them succeed," he said.

"This year is the 20th anniversary of International Day of People with Disability, a United Nations sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. The day seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life."

Event: 'Come as U are', Monday December 3, 12pm-1.30pm, Goodman Plaza, SCU Lismore Campus.

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