From the president

Brelynn Bille (she/her/hers) is a disability rights advocate double-majoring in community and nonprofit leadership and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As a first-generation university student, having a disability on campus has introduced additional and unexpected barriers, bringing her to more routine activism in college. Partaking in activism independently and as a member of the Disability Cultural Center Coalition, Brelynn uses her knowledge and enjoyment of public policy as a vehicle for her work on campus. Through her work with National Disability Mentoring Coalition as a Dinah F.B. Cohen Fellow, she has worked with a cohort to build a student activism guide for other universities to use to build these community spaces for disabled students. Brelynn has also served as an ambassador for the university with The Philanthropy Lab, where she competed to bring home $50,000 for an area nonprofit build a home in the Philippines for child survivors of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Jennifer Mnookin

Chancellor

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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Personal Statement

Disconnected, isolated, marginalized, disheartened. These words are how I would describe my first two years at UW-Madison. Being a freshman during the all-remote year of 2020-21, it was difficult to make friends, join and be involved in campus organizations and groups, and discover what college was truly like. However, unlike many students, I faced additional barriers to these college experiences: I am a disabled, first-generation university student. During my sophomore year, I was asked to join a coalition of other disabled students in building a Disability Cultural Center on campus. This coalition of students from every program, background, and upbringing came together to inform campus administration that our federally recognized group lacked a space that was specifically ours, where we would celebrate disability pride, educate campus on ableism, and be a community. After months of work, we victoriously gained a temporary space on campus as the 11th cultural center for our community in the entire nation. On the brink of dropping out or transferring, our coalition hopes to continue advocacy efforts that encourage greater accessibility, keeping others from leaving. Our efforts have fostered a strong student-led campaign to transform campus into a better place for disabled students.

Brelynn Bille

Community and Nonprofit Leadership, Political Science

University of Wisconsin-Madison