Skip to Content (Press Enter)

Disability Awareness Club Wins Student Organization of the Year

Abled Advocators Honored With Student Life and Leadership’s Annual Tuffy Award
Share This:

Both Jay Hiji and Tricia Kuresa-Boone were searching for friendship and connection when they arrived at Cal State Fullerton. The pair, now graduating seniors, found that community in a student organization called Abled Advocators.

Open to all students with or without disabilities, the club aims to break down common stereotypes and bring awareness about different disabilities, provide a safe environment for its members, and advocate for resources to support students with disabilities. 

For its commitment to inclusivity and active participation even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Abled Advocators was named Student Organization of the Year at Student Life and Leadership’s 2021 Tuffy Awards. More than 150 nominations were submitted across all categories.

Jay Hiji
Jay Hiji, president of Abled Advocators

“Even though I was extremely shy, I never felt judged for being quiet when I was with Abled Advocators,” shared Hiji, club president and a business major. “Everyone was so kind, and it really did seem like a family.”

Tricia Kuresa Boone
Tricia Kuresa-Boone, vice president of Abled Advocators

“As a new, nontraditional student on campus, I did not know where to fit in. I had insecure feelings of whether I belong here and if I could finish school at my age,” added Kuresa-Boone, club vice president and a human services major. “All of those feelings went away when I started getting involved with on-campus organizations like Abled Advocators.”

In a virtual environment, the club remained active with Zoom events covering such topics as Black History Month, epilepsy awareness, autism awareness, mental wellness and disability advocacy. The club also hosted a LinkedIn workshop, short film festival and study sessions.

Using a variety of marketing strategies, Abled Advocators increased its attendance by 147%. In addition, to promote leadership skills and confidence, the executive team provided opportunities for its members to help host events.

“My involvement in this organization has given me a chance to work with diverse people, develop my interpersonal and conflict resolution skills, and learn how to run an organization,” explained Hiji.

Kuresa-Boone agreed. “Get involved with any organization — there are 300 plus organizations on campus. I am 100% sure there is one that will interest you. I encourage you to build those relationships that will help you with your journey as a Titan.”

Lynn Juliano