Recently, the Neurodiversity Club at East Tennessee State University provided a safe and accepting environment for those with social anxiety and conditions that make socializing a difficult task during their first ever, the Social Anxiety Mixer.
“We wanted to do a social event bigger than our typical group. Someone commented that we’re all too anxious to do anything, so the Social Anxiety Mixer was created,” said Nelson David, Vice President of the Neurodiversity Club and creator of the mixer. “We’re just trying to bring people with similarities together.”
The Neurodiversity Club did their best to ensure that attendees had a wonderful night of fun, food and games. Members of the club know that sometimes socializing can be difficult, and making friends isn’t always the easiest task. Because of this, extra care was taken to be sure that attendees would be at their most comfortable.
“We worked to be as structured as possible. Even a lack of planning can cause anxiety,” said David. “We even provide index cards with questions and name tags, so that attendees don’t have the specific anxiety of not knowing someone’s name.”
The Neurodiversity Club is comprised of advocates and allies of students who are neurodivergent. This includes individuals that are autistic, have a learning or intellectual disability or a neurological and cognitive condition. According to the Neurodiversity Club’s BucHub, their aim is to create a more inclusive environment at ETSU by facilitating social events, advocacy projects and programs aimed at breaking down barriers for neurodivergent students.
“We are allies and friends, and we are welcoming to everyone,” said David. “We’re just trying to advocate together.”
Although this was the first Social Mixer hosted by the club, they have hopes to continue similar events in the future, if they show to be successful. On March 1, the Neurodiversity Club will be hosting a Disability Day of Mourning at 5 p.m. in the D.P Culp University Center Ballroom.
“This will be a vigil for disabled peoples that have been killed by their caretakers this year. It’s more common than people realize. We have over 100 names, and we want to bring light to a subject that people gloss over,” said David. “We want to bring awareness to people so that they can realize disabled peoples can live happy lives.”
For more information about the Neurodiversity Club, visit their BucHub, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or join them for a meeting on Mondays in Meeting Room 3 of the D.P. Culp University Center at 5 p.m.