DIAS: Disabled Identities and Support Spotlight


Mateo Molinari of Disabled Identities and Support

Although we have the Students with Disabilities Advocacy Group primarily at the Statesboro campus, Mateo Molinari, a sophomore at Georgia Southern, decided that this wasn’t enough to reach all the needs for disabled students and decided to start the club DIAS: Disabled Identities and Support.

Molinari first got the idea during training for Deep Dive in the summer of 2021. The trainees attended an orientation, and during the program, one of Molinari’s co-workers began to have difficulty standing up due to chronic pain. Molinari then went to SARC on campus to gain access to a wheelchair for this co-worker but was told that he wouldn’t be able to access it until the next day, which left the woman in need. Eventually, she was able to stand up, but when Molinari went back for the wheelchair the next day, he was disappointed to see that the wheelchair was in a disappointing condition.

“It was very old. I think before it was called SARC, it was called the Student Disability Resource Center. That name was still on the wheelchair. It hadn’t been touched in so long… and that was really disappointing.”

One of DIAS’s goals is to raise money for personalized resources because Molinari believes that accepting disabled students is not just giving them the supplies they need but giving them something that fits their personality.

“You want something that fits you because it’s not just something that’s off to the side. It’s part of you.”

Another goal that DIAS wants to achieve is pursuing a diverse group of students within their organization.

“That helps with feeling less alone, because now you’re not just talking with other students who have the same experience as you, but you’re also getting closer to your experience.”

Currently, DIAS is located primarily on the Statesboro campus. For the most part, the other organizations have welcomed the club with open arms and have praised the club at student organization fairs for creating a safe presence for students.

However, DIAS has received backlash from the university because of the issue of liability they present. “We’re not claiming to be experts… we trust that the students know what they need.”

Although the goal of fundraising to gain access to resources for students with disabilities is tremendously important, not only to the Georgia Southern campuses but for the disabled community in Georgia as a whole, it is also important to note the greater goal DIAS hopes to achieve through their efforts which is peer support and connectedness on a deeper level.

“I think the biggest part of this club, if not for our programs, is just having a place for students with disabilities to know that there are people with similar experiences so that they feel less alone,” Molinari said

DIAS is hosting a lecture on February 21st at 6pm titled “The Overlap: Race and Disability,” which will be taking place on the Statesboro campus. A hybrid option and recording will be available following the event.

There will also be an interactive workshop on March 23rd at 6pm titled, “Aesthetics and Anxiety,” taking place in Statesboro. A hybrid option and recording will be available for interested students.

DIAS currently has volunteer positions for students at the Armstrong and Statesboro campus. To get involved or see more information, visit their linktree.