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Event flips script to share perspective

Sighted served dinner by the visually impaired

Published: Sunday, February 2, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 2, 2014 19:02

The sense of sight is sometimes taken for granted by those who have it, but the upcoming event, Dining in the Dark, will aim to give insight into the world of the visually impaired.

Lindsay Long, freshman psychology major, is volunteering for Dining in the Dark with her sorority, Delta Gamma. She also has a visual impairment. She encouraged her sorority to volunteer and believes that the event is a unique experience. As a result, 50 Delta Gamma members will be volunteering as cart runners, servers and other jobs.

“It’s really a once in a lifetime experience because you get to experience blindness for a dinner and its not just like walking around with a blindfold,” Long said. “You wont be able to take off your blindfold because you are in the dark and that’s what it feels like a lot of the time for me.”

Brazos Valley Center for Independent Living is hosting the event as a visual impairment awareness and fundraising event. Casey Schneider, president of the Infinite Aggies, a group volunteering to help set up the event, is hopeful that the dinner will help to build empathy for students with disabilities so it will be easier to understand what they go through.

“This event is a great opportunity for people without visual impairments to experience what people with these disabilities have to go through everyday,” Schneider said. “We will be helping set up the event the day before by laying down the tape the servers will be following during the dinner, among many other things.”

The idea of Dining in the Dark has been around for a few decades and is not only used for blindness awareness, but some restaurant owners and chefs will host a similar event to give their patrons more of an appreciation for different aspects of their food, Long said.

“This concept of dining in the dark has been around since the ’90s where it started over in Zurich,” Long said. “Some people use it as a awareness event and some people do it in their restaurant because they want you to pay more attention to the food’s smell and feel.”

Wesely Delin, president of Insightful Connections, a social organization for the visually impaired, hopes that people who are attending will appreciate their sight after they finish the event.

“It is a good way for the general population to see what people with visual impairments go through on a daily basis,” Delin said. “For individuals, it will hopefully make them realize they are blessed in terms of their sight and they don’t have to deal with the obstacles that come with blindness or other visual disabilities.”

Event coordinator Lauren Long said there will be a social hour before the dinner where people can participate in activities such as braille dominos and checkers. Attendees will also be able to use an assisted currency identifier.

“It is geared toward awareness of visual impairments and I hope people get to ask the candid questions that they want to ask,” Long said. “I know that many people feel that they will offend us if they ask questions about the disability and how it affects us, but we would rather that you go head and ask instead of going on assuming the answer to those questions.”

The event will begin with a social hour at 5 p.m. Feb. 15, at the Hilton in College Station. Student priced tickets are not yet offered but will be sold a week before the event. Normally priced tickets for the event are available now at www.dininginthedarkbcs.com. 

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