By Abigail Allen
Amid Student Government Association (SGA) constitutional revisions, neurodivergent students may be offered more representation in student affairs for the upcoming school year.
Selah Torralba, associated student body director for inclusion and belonging and president of Diversity Committee, recently requested revisions to the SGA constitution to formally add a representative from a new club on campus that serves neurodivergent students to the Diversity Committee for next school year.
“Diversity has often been regarded as being exclusive to race and ethnicity, and while it means race and ethnicity, it is also saying ‘We need to talk about other parts of our identities, other parts of our orientation,’” said Torralba.
The Diversity Committee is made up of representatives from clubs on campus, including Walden, First Generations, Commuter Council, Orthodox Christian Campus Ministries, Futuro, International Student Council and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Neuros, the club for neurodivergent students at Trevecca, currently holds no chair on the diversity committee.
Neuros has a mission to address the stigma around neurodivergence, said Cecilia Fetters, vice president of Neuros.
“Our goal is really to provide education and visibility as well as community and put out some resources for neurodivergent folk and, really, just everybody,” she said.
Making a space for welcoming neurodivergent students is key, said Alec O’brien, president of Neuros.
“We want to give all of the neurodivergent students on campus a place of belonging,” he said
According to Forbes Health, “Neurodivergent is a non-medical umbrella term that describes people with variation in their mental functions, and can include conditions such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other neurological or developmental conditions such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).”
“No two brains are really exactly the same. But some of us are different in ways that our world is not very accommodating to, so that’s what I would consider being neurodivergent,” said Fetters.
For Torralba, diversity is more than just race.
Offering belonging to every student is going to continue to be at the core of any changes and conversations of the Diversity Committee, said Torralba.
“Identifying someone’s race or ethnicity, that’s something that happens immediately. For someone who might identify as neurodivergent, that could be—you may not know someone is neurodivergent until they share that information with you,” said Torralba.
With the induction of Neuros into the Diversity Committee, Fetters hopes to offer perspectives of neurodivergent students to SGA as well as better representation at events.
“A lot of the issues that neurodivergent people have across campus, that I have experienced, and I have heard from others—a lot of our main sources of even alienation have been events,” said Fetters.
Fetters hopes the addition of Neuros to the diversity committee would allow more representation as well as accommodation for all students.
“I think it would be the right move, honestly,” said O’brien. “I think it definitely accomplishes what we set out to do as a club, which is, again, promoting diversity and, in this case, neurodiversity.”