University Relations and Communications

MSUB Events Mark Week Of Diversity And Inclusion

October 12, 2012 


Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269


Author/photographer Kevin Connolly and filmmaker Drew Goldsmith to give special lectures


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — The terms “normal” and “regular” mean different things to different people. It all depends on your individual perspective.


A Week of Diversity and Inclusion

When that perspective is 3-feet from the ground because you have no legs, people tend to stare. From Kevin Connolly’s point of view, both his height and the stares are a part of his life and that allows him to see the world in a unique way.


His openness, his travels around the world his personal story will be one of the special events at Montana State University Billings to mark a week of diversity and Inclusion. All events are free and open to the public.


Connolly, who was born without legs and has spent much of the two years traveling and doing photography, grew up in Helena and attended Montana State University in Bozeman. He challenges peoples’ view about disability as it is related to art, athletics, and lifestyle. About 15 of his photographs — part of a display called “The Rolling Exhibition” — will be on display at the MSU Billings Student Union Building atrium and at Jacket Student Central at City College (formerly the College of Technology) from Oct. 15-20.


Connolly, 25 and author of the book “Double Take,” will also be at the university for a special lecture and book signing. The lecture will be at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 17 in Petro Theatre. He will sign copies of his book in the lobby of the near the Jackets and Co. store immediately following his presentation.


Connolly has traveled to 17 countries on his skateboard and, in an attempt to capture the stares of others, he took more than 30,000 photographs of people staring at him. Those photos and what he has learned from the experience will be the focus of his talk on Wednesday. His lecture and photo exhibit are being sponsored by the MSU Billings Student Activities Board and MSU Billings Student Life and Housing.


Also next week, the Montana Center for Inclusive Education (formerly the Montana Center on Disabilities) will have an open house to mark its new name. The center, which provides training and education for students and adults with special needs — as well as those who serve them — has been an integral part of the university’s public service mission since 1947. The new name more accurately reflects the breadth and depth of its mission.


The open house will be Thursday, Oct. 18, from 4-6 p.m. on the ground floor level of the College of Education Building at the University Campus. It is free and light refreshments will be available.


At 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18, faculty, staff, students and the community are invited to a special lecture by Drew Goldsmith. The lecture is at 7 p.m. at Petro Theatre and is also free. It is being sponsored by the Montana Regional Education Service Area III and Region III Comprehensive System of Personnel Development through funding provided by the Montana Autism Education Project of the Montana Office of Public Instruction.


Goldsmith is a film/animation/documentary maker who has autism. He will share his films and thoughts on diversity, inclusion, and advocating for one’s self. Using film, video, and animation, Goldsmith is able to communicate support and build respect for all persons with disabilities. As a pre-teen, he won YouTube’s “Sky’s the Limit” contest, and shortly thereafter he began submitting his videos to national and international film festivals. His 10-minute short, “Treasure Diversity,” screened at over 20 national and international film festivals.


Goldsmith will also host a “text chat” later in the evening on Oct. 18 at about 9:30 p.m. for students and those who attended his presentation.


Also next week, the Student United Way group will host a service project that focuses on inclusion and diversity. Students and staff will be assisting the Big Brothers Big Sisters Carnival on Tuesday, Oct. 16 from 5-7 p.m. Those who wish to help will meet at 4:45 p.m. outside the Missouri Room in the Student Union Building and carpool to the event, which will be held at First Interstate Bank Operation Center, 1800 6th Ave. N. For more information on the service project, call 896-5815.


For more information on the events in the SUB during the week, call 657-2387.