Student Disability Commission

Welcome to the Student Disability Commission Website

Intern Application Overview (PDF)

Welcome to the SDC Website! We are part of the eight diversity commissions of the Associated Students of the University of Washington.

Our Mission:

We are a student-run, student-lead organization committed to the needs of disabled student of the UW.  Our goal is to foster an environment  that is not only accepting, but celebratory of disabled people through social, educational, and cultural programming. SDC is committed to disability issues and liberation.

 What We Do:

As a commission, we…

  • Organize events focusing on disability at the UW
  • Collaborate closely with other ASUW Commissions and student groups to hold UW accountable to its commitment to diversity
  • Provide safe, accepting, and accessible space for disabled people at the UW
  • Create anti-oppressive, pro-liberation, accessible space for disabled people to find resources and community
  • Advocate within ASUW for disabled students, faculty, and staff
  • Celebrate disability pride and identity

The SDC understands disability as not merely an individual or medical problem, but rather the result of social and physical barriers to full participation in society. Also, we recognize that disabilities affect people in unique ways based on culture, race, religion, sexual orientation, class, and political backgrounds. We want to celebrate these differences within our community.



// D MONTH //

Shain Neumeier: Institutionalization & Continuing Struggle for Disability Liberation (D Month) (Facebook event)
7pm – 9pm | Friday, April 14th | HUB 250

The word “institution” has a wide array of meanings and associations, both good and bad. Accordingly, there is a lot of ambivalence, and many conflicting viewpoints, about the nature and role of institutions, including how they affect disabled people. However, there are many overlaps between all forms of institutions, ranging from those viewed as the most benevolent such as public schools and psychiatric hospitals to those explicitly designed for punishment such as teen “boot camps” and prisons. Many of these core features are rooted in coercion and violence, or inevitably lead to them. This talk will discuss how institutions harm the disabled people within their walls, the rhetoric that allows them to continue doing so, and alternative models that respect the human rights and autonomy of disabled and other currently institutionalized people.

Mia Mingus (D Month) (Facebook event)
5:30pm – 7:30pm | Monday, April 17th | HUB 332
Join us for an evening with Mia Mingus as she shares about her experiences as a queer disabled woman of color searching for a political framework that could hold disability and ableism–what later became known as “disability justice.” Mingus will also talk about how her work for disability justice is connected to her work for transformative justice. This event will open with remarks from Mingus, followed by a Q&A and conversation with the audience.

Lydia XZ Brown: Struggling with Disability Justice: Self-Work, Collective Accountability, and Community Care in the Movement (D Month) (Facebook event)
7pm – 9pm | Friday, April 21st | HUB 334

What does an honest, authentic, genuine movement feel like or act like when so many of us have been burned out, kicked out, shut out, and pushed out of community spaces? How do we reconcile individual and collective trauma within activist spaces somewhere between accountability and compassion? If we are laboring for liberation, we have to start in our own communities. Confronting settler-colonialism, white supremacy, transmisogyny, ableism, and all other oppressions begins in the movement. Let us talk about rage and devastation, trauma and healing, and the meaning of active love and justice. Let us talk about the illusion of perfection and the activist’s overcomer narrative. Let us talk about what Disability Justice means for building better, stronger, more authentic movements.

Intersections of Disability + Public Health (D Month) (Facebook event)
3:30pm – 5:30pm | Tuesday, April 25th | HUB 332


Ableism & Audism 101 Workshop (Facebook event)
4:30pm – 6:30pm | Tuesday, January 23rd | D Center (MGH 024)
What are ableism and audism and how do they affect disabled and d/Deaf people’s lives? We’ll welcome folks who are new to these topics, reflect deeply about the intersections of oppression, and dream up new ways of supporting and advocating for all members of our communities.

Deaf & Disabled People of Color Narratives
Various times | Various Fridays | D Center (MGH 024)

Queer Disabled Narratives TBD


Solidarity Gathering for the Disabled, D/deaf, Neurodivergent, Mad/mentally ill folks and allies in the wake of the U.S. election (Facebook event)
10am to 12pm | Friday, November 18th | D Center (Mary Gates Hall 024)
A safe space for the community and allies to come together to reflect, discuss, and be in solidarity with one another. ASL interpreting and CART captioning have been requested. Please come fragrance free.

Psychiatric Abuse Panel (Facebook event)
7pm to 9pm | Tuesday, November 29th | HUB 332
A panel centered on the experiences of survivors of psychiatric and medical abuse. The first half of the panel will be moderated and the last half will have audience questions. ASL interpreting and CART have been requested. Please come fragrance free.

Fragrance Free Accessibility

The SDC is working on developing a list of fragrance free/scent free products. Have any product recommendations for fragrance free lotion, laundry detergent, deodorant or any other personal care or cleaning products? LET US KNOW!


How to be Scent Free

The Basics
A good, starting out guide for how to be scent.

How to be Scent Free
This is a great link about how and way to be scent free, with super expensive lists of scent-free products geared towards people of color. The lists are broken down by the kind of product you’re looking for (shampoo, laundry detergent, etc.).

Organizing Scent Free Events
More Tips Here
These are great resources for all you organizers out there! Here’s a detailed how-to of making your events scent free and more accessible.

How to Read Labels
It can be tricky to read labels and figure out if a product is actually scent free or not (advertisements can be deceiving!), so here’s a guide to effectively reading labels.

Being Scent Free At Home
Ways to make your home unscented and keep your friends and families safe from toxins!

Fragrance Free for Femmes of Color
A guide towards being scent free specifically geared towards femmes of color, but it’s also relevant for white and non-femme folks. Written by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

Psychological Impacts
The serious tolls that living in a scented and inaccessible world can have on people with chemical sensitivities.

Personal Care + Beauty Products

Ban Deodorant
Unscented deodorant available

Fierce Bodies
Natural cosmetics and beauty products that are all scent free

Get Involved!

Want to get involved with disability justice and advocacy here at UW? Come check out our Disability Advocacy Collective meetings, an informal union of disability groups here at UW. The Disability Advocacy Collective is composed of the Student Disability Commission, Disability Advocacy Student Alliance and the D Center and seeks to organize and build community both on campus and in the greater Seattle community.

Meetings are Thursdays 11:30-12:30 in the D Center (located in the basement of Mary Gates Hall, MGH 024).


Disability Studies Department Scholarships

DO-IT Scholarship List


The D Center:

The D Center at the University of Washington is a student lead space. The D Center strives to create an inclusive, accessible space affirming of all bodies, minds, and identities by fostering a culture of social justice and pride. It does this by sharing resources and tools for self-advocacy and supporting social, cultural and education programming.

Check out the D Center in the basement of Mary Gates 024 or at there website

Disability Advocacy Student Alliance (DASA):

DASA is a student group facilitated for and by students with the goal of addressing the needs and concerns of the disability community at the UW. DASA aims to represent student interest while working with allied student groups, UW administration, and off campus community. Website here

Disability Resource Center (DRS):

DRS is the office where all matriculated students need to apply for academic accommodations for a permanent or temporary disability. They provide academic support services and accommodations such as: priority registration, note taking, class materials in alternate forms, additional time on tests, accessible classroom furniture, room modifications, Sign Language interpreting, and others. Website here

Disability Services Office (DSO):

DSO provides the same academic accommodations as DRS but for non-matriculated students. Website here

Disability Studies:

The Disability Studies program at the UW involves an interdisciplinary group of faculty, staff, students, and community members who share an interest in questions relating to society’s understanding of disability. The undergraduate Disability Studies Minor and Individualized Studies Major in Disability Studies provide opportunities for students to develop a strong interdisciplinary foundation in the social, legal, and political framing of disability. Website here

American Sign Language Club (ASL Club):

American Sign Language Club (ASL Club) was created to bring together Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and hearing students alike, to engage in conversation, learn more about Deaf Culture, and have a greater appreciation for the language. Website here

DO-IT Center:

DO-IT promotes the success of individuals with disabilities and use of computer and networking technologies to increase their independence, productivity, and participation in education and careers. DO-IT is compromised of AccesSTEM and AccessComputing. Students with disabilities specializing in STEM can receive assistance with tutors and paid research internships, and can apply for funding to attend student leadership conference through these two programs. Website here

Access Technology Center (ATC):

ATC provides resources to improve access to computing resources for UW students, faculty, and staff. The computers, software, and special equipment in the center and at other locations on UW campus provide: access for blind users via speech output or Braille, screen recognition for people with low vision, alternatives to the standard keyboard and mouse, and more. Website here

Autistic Self Advocacy Network-WA

ASAN Washington is part of a nation organization whose mission is to to empower Autistic residents of our state to have our voices heard in society’s conversations about us. Website here

Alliance of People with disAbilities

National Alliance on Mental Illness – Greater Seattle

Seattle Deaf-Blind Service CenterSeattle Health Education Services and Support Groups



The SDC (previously known as the Disabled Student Commission) was established in 1974 by a student group called the UW Disability Student Association. For twenty years, the commission advocated for disability issues on campus until it disbanded itself in 1994 due to feelings of alienation from the greater campus community. The Commission was brought back to the ASUW in 2004, and is now called the Student Disability Commission.


Ashley Cowan D’Ambrosio
Student Disability Commission Director, 2017-2018

Husky Union Building 131Q
Phone: 206.616.0948

You can reach me by email or drop in during my office hours which are found here (availability designated by the green “available” slots). We can also schedule to meet outside of the office hours listed — please contact me to set up a time. My office is fragrance free so please do not wear or apply perfume or other scented products in and/or around the space.