By Julia Preszler, news correspondent
This fall, a group of Northeastern students, in conjunction with the Disability Resource Center have introduced a new honor society, the Rho chapter of Delta Alpha Pi (DAP), to the Northeastern University campus. The organization aims to recognize the academic achievements of students with disabilities and advocate for disability awareness, according to the group’s website.
DAP was founded in 2004 at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, and now has chapters at over 100 colleges and universities across the country, the group’s website says. These colleges include Bentley University, the University of Connecticut, Alliant International University and Cornell University.
“The purpose of DAP is to recognize students who maintain a high GPA despite having disabilities,” said John Lambert, junior behavioral neuroscience major and president of the Northeastern chapter of DAP.
Northeastern’s chapter of DAP was originally introduced in 2008, said Max Sederer, a specialist at Northeastern’s Disability Resource Center (DRC) and the advisor of Northeastern’s chapter of DAP. After a few years, the organization was no longer recognized by the Center of Student Involvement because the co-op structure of Northeastern made club organization difficult, Sederer said. Sederer, who introduced the idea of reinstalling the club, said that students responded positively to this opportunity.
Alina Donato, senior graphic design major and secretary of DAP, said in an emailed statement to the News that the group’s executive board spent the past spring and summer working to make DAP an official campus organization.
Donato said that she has dyslexia, which has presented challenges for her in her college life.
“When I first entered college it was very challenging and I struggled to get my work done,” she said. “However, with the help of the DRC, I was able to get comfortable with college classes and obtain the help I needed so that now I feel very good about college.”
DAP is the only honor society on campus that focuses on students with disabilities, according to Sederer. Members of DAP hope to engage in disability advocacy and education through the program, Donato said.
“We want to go to local schools and talk to the students with disabilities and let them know our experiences, that they can succeed in college and answer any questions or fears they may have about school,” Donato said. “We also want to talk to those who may not know about disabilities or who have misconceptions.”
While the Northeastern chapter of DAP is classified as an undergraduate organization, both undergraduate and graduate students at Northeastern are eligible to apply, Sederer said.
According to the DAP website, undergraduates must have a GPA of at least 3.1 with over 24 credit hours, while graduate students must have a GPA of at least 3.25 with over 18 credit hours.
DAP currently has 42 members, Donato said. She added that many other students showed interest in joining DAP at Northeastern’s Fall Fest.
Although DAP focuses on students with disabilities, any student meeting the grade and credit hour requirements and who shows an interest in disability advocacy can join, Sederer said.
At this time, all members of DAP at Northeastern have a disability, Lambert said. These disabilities include dyslexia, mental illness, physical hardship and others, he said.
Donato said she feels that DAP creates a supportive community on campus for students like her with who cope with disabilities on a day to day basis.
“At DAP, we are all in the same situation, and we can work together and help one another out,” Donato said.