A culture plunge can be defined as exposure to a culture that is different from our own and, in this class specifically, the culture of disability. For some of you, you may already identify as being familiar with disability culture. If so, you will need to explore an arena of disability culture that you are not as familiar with. For many of you though, this may be your first time interacting or being involved with the disability community. Either way, we are very excited to read about your experiences! It is normal for you to feel nervous, intimidated, or even fearful about this assignment, but we hope that this experience proves to be valuable and memorable and that the impact will transcend beyond your time at university.
You are required to engage with individuals who identify as being a part of the Disability Community. You are expected to be respectful and thoughtful with the different organizations and people you come across. This is not an opportunity for you to be inspired by an individual’s ability to do “day-to-day” tasks. It is an opportunity for you to discover how people with disabilities must adapt their lives in order to integrate into their communities. You will be expected to discover what actually “disables” them and what provides them with access. You will discover or enhance your understanding of human connectedness.
Although you may be serving your community at your disability culture plunge event, this is not for the purpose of community service credit. The purpose is to immerse yourself into a culture with which you were previously unfamiliar and to learn from the people of that culture.
As this is a college level course, the expectation is for you to take the ideas we present in class and see how those concepts apply to people who live this experience daily.
Important criteria for culture plunges as described in the course syllabus are:
- The majority or a large proportion of people there identify as someone who is disabled
- This must be a type of experience you’ve never had before
- The plunge takes place after this course begins (credit cannot be given for past experiences)
- You must be focused on qualitative interactions and not on taking notes
- Although the event may be a charity-based event, you are not there out of charity, but out of intrigue and interest in getting to know people with disabilities as equals
- The plunge lasts at least one hour
Ideas for Valuable Culture Plunge Opportunities
You can reference Blackboard for some DCP examples. You are also encouraged to find local organizations in the community that are not listed.
- Disability and LGBTQIA + organizations
- Disability and the farming community
- Homeless population and the variety of disabilities represented
- Adults with developmental disabilities
- Mental Illness and different ethnic groups
- Deaf and hard-of-hearing community
- Adaptive sports opportunities
- About the Organization/Activity/Event/Person 2.5 points
This portion of the assignment includes background information about the organization:
- Name, Location, Date of Culture Plunge, website link (if applicable)
- Contact information (i.e., website, email, and name of contact person if applicable)
- A 1-2 paragraph description of what you did during your time at the place or event, and the types of disabilities that were represented at the event.
- Reflection 15 Points Answer each question in 1-2 paragraphs while applying content that was covered in the course. Indicate A, B, C, D, E, and F for each part of this response. Include the question and the answer to each question.
- What were your initial biases and stigmas you had before participating in your disability culture plunge activity? How did this experience change your thinking? 2.5 points
- Explain how this experience relates to the social model of disability and/or the medical model. 2.5 points
- Name at least 2 other concepts learned in this course and explain how they apply to your Disability Culture Plunge experience? 2.5 points
- What accommodations or assistive technologies were used or were not used that you think could have been used to foster inclusion and access? 2.5 points
- How might you see yourself including and contributing to the lives of people with disabilities now and in the future? And how might people with disabilities contribute to your life now and in the future? 2.5 points
- Describe how you have changed since taking Gen S 420 and how will you put your new knowledge to work in your career and community. 2.5 points
- 4 Photos 2.5 points On the fourth page, include all 4 photos. Internet photos are not acceptable. Include the following:
- 1 photo of yourself clearly at the event
- 3 photos of the event*
- Explanatory caption for each photo
*Not all culture plunge experiences are conducive to or appropriate for taking photos of people/participants (although most are completely appropriate). In situations where it’s not appropriate, out of respect for the people at the event, it is okay to take photos of the environment/backs of crowds, event signs, event coordinators (with permission), and other people and things that demonstrate your presence and active participation on the day of the event.