The CSD Student Development Center (SDC), located at Rochester Institute of Technology’s National Technical Institute of the Deaf in Rochester, New York, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary on April 27. “The CSD SDC was developed for students to feel connected and to learn things beyond the classroom,” said CSD Chief Executive Officer Chris Soukup. “It quickly became a hub for campus activity, bringing people together to advance dialogues and partnerships, and serving as a community center, which was our ultimate goal.”
The CSD SDC houses NTID’s student government, student life, multicultural organizations, a study center, a communication center, commuter lockers, and informal spaces, all designed to facilitate socialization and interaction. It also features artwork by Deaf and hearing artists with ties to NTID, and Ellie’s Place, a first-floor lounge named after the late NTID Associate Dean for Student and Academic Affairs Eleanor Rosenfield.
“Over these past 10 years, the CSD SDC has become the heart of campus life at RIT/NTID,” said Gerard Buckley, NTID president and RIT vice president and dean. “The facility provides space for leadership opportunities that are essential for our students’ success. We are grateful to CSD for their visionary generosity, and look forward to future collaborations.”
Part of the 10-year celebration is the launch of a partnership between CSD Creative and RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology at the SDC. “Given such a successful collaboration, it seemed only natural that we establish a partnership with RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology in the CSD SDC, especially with RIT/NTID’s outstanding graphic design, technology, multi-media and visual communications programs,” Soukup added. “This partnership is a great way to combine resources and hands-on experience alongside some of the best Deaf talent in the field, many who are RIT/NTID graduates.”
CSD Creative, led by CSD Creative’s Bryce Chapman and RIT/NTID’s Center on Access Technology Director Gary Behm, provides students with real-life learning experiences in web design and development, graphic design, digital advertising, brand development, photography, videography, and content marketing. “We all have a responsibility to support students, including through mentorship and work experiences, to prepare them for their careers after graduation,” Soukup noted. “With such a solid team of Deaf talent in graphic and web design, photography, and videography, CSD Creative’s new collaboration is a great opportunity for RIT/NTID students to gain valuable co-op experience, and sharpen their professional skills.”
“We want students to see CSD Creative as a resource throughout their academic studies, and to consider CSD as a potential career choice,” Soukup added. “It’s a win-win situation for all involved.”
For more information, contact Gary Behm (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.ntid.rit.edu/cat.
By Ryan Commerson
I started working with Communication Service for the Deaf less than one year ago and at 40 years old, it was my first “real” job after decades of activism. Under new leadership, CSD’s trajectory complements my lifelong mission. It is with excitement and impassioned enthusiasm, I can now say that CSD is uniquely positioned to create paradigm shifting ideological change on a global scale. CSD is posed to lead the conversations on the “disability framework” and guide us all in creating a new framework that is both constructive and productive for all.
CSD is a 40-year-old behemoth with a larger-than-life legacy. Benjamin Soukup and his team built the organization out of a closet into a $30-million-dollar powerhouse of communication access and civil rights for Deaf people in USA and beyond.
The idea of “deaf” has evolved over the course of thousands of years, from the earliest known printed mention of sign language in Cratylus, the name of Plato’s dialogue during the middle period (approx. 380-350 BC) to modern day.
During the 19th century, after Abbé Charles-Michel de l’Épée founded the world’s first public deaf school in 1760, the medical profession was born. With the advent of early medical advancement, professionals quickly termed a concept that changed the narrative forever: Normalcy. Prior to 19th century, there wasn’t any cohesiveness in medical practice – essentially, there were people who dabbled in “healing” and experimented on bodies, but none of them received formal trainings from institutions because there weren’t any at the time. Institutions gave way to uniformity in knowledge and methodologies, of which gave way to the idea of what is “normal” and what is not.
The concept of normalcy set the stage for the “disability framework” – giving us the language to build narratives. For example: “If this body or condition is not normal, then what is it? What can this person do or cannot do?” Very quickly, the framework started breeding words like impairment, disability, accessibility, accommodations, inclusion, and so on.
The framework with those words act as eyeglasses (lens) for us to “see” and “interpret” the world, in other words, tell us how to think and understand our reality. Words and concept are the doors in our minds, when we open them, we walk into rooms filled with specific ideas and internalize them.
When you read, see, hear, or feel words like ‘accessibility’, ‘disability’, ‘inclusion’… what are the ideas, concepts, or images that appear in your head? Let’s use inclusion as an example.
Inclusion means to be included. To be included, one must receive an invitation. To receive an invitation, one must wait. Question is: Why wait? For an environment to be fully inclusive, all that is required is for someone to be considerate of another; what happens when someone isn’t being considerate? If the law requires a person or entity to be considerate then the situation isn’t going to become warm and fuzzy.
How do we respond to this? Instead of waiting to be included, we assert ourselves. Assert by taking initiative without waiting; own your reality instead of having someone else determine it for you.
An entire disability framework was built upon an idea that someone else will take care of the “disabled” and as result, all the words and narratives are created to support this specific idea. The idea: A disabled person is a socio-economic burden. If we are to replace ‘disability’ with a new word backed by an entirely different definition grounded in a premise that speaks to the essence of our being, would it be possible to reframe our existence away from the idea of being a burden? Perhaps we will finally be understood as worthy of investment?
Now that reins have been taken up by Chris Soukup, the incredible speed of technological advancement and cultural shift have charted a new course for CSD – we are moving away from the rehabilitative type of conversation (ie: communication access) towards one of self-definition. This shift heralds a change in how we think, sign, and write as an organization.
In the coming months, the Public Relations & Community Engagement Team will produce and disseminate “thought leadership” series on the disability framework, deconstructing or peeling it like an onion, layer by layer, word by word, and narrative by narrative. Grab a box of Kleenex, the eyes are about to get watery. The scent is strong.
Instead of promoting inclusion, we promote the discovery of inner light, the power within that you all have and to wield it to bring your game. The core of your being is at stake.
CSD launches CSD Works and CSD Learns, initiatives designed to address high un/underemployment in the deaf community.
CSD Launches its Creative Agency to offer customers a full-stack of digital marketing to effectively market their services to the deaf and hard of hearing community.
#WhoWillAnswer campaign launched by CSD National Programs to create a 24/7 Domestic Violence Hotline for the deaf and hard of hearing. CSD initiates Project Access in Shanghai, China.
Vineya, the first online marketplace for onsite or remote sign language interpreters is launched.
CSD relocates to Austin, Texas and implements Technology+Design Studio to innovate next-generation solutions for the deaf community.
CSD launches services nationwide in New Zealand to provide TRS, CapTel, VRS, VRI and equipment distribution services.
US Dept. of Commerce- National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) awards CSD with a $14.9 million contract for nationwide broadband and equipment deployment. CSD accomplishes this through Direct Services.
CSD awarded $1.1 million FCC grant to implement national awareness campaign about the country’s transition to digital television (DTV).
Archive for April, 2017
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