Eye To Eye hosts annual Dinner in the Dark to challenge visual impairment stigmas
On Wednesday, Mar. 13, an event called “Dinner in the Dark” was hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University’s Eye To Eye club. The dinner was held in The Hawk’s Nest, and consisted of three courses that were catered by Wilf’s.
The dinner, which aimed to reach the student body as well as the greater community, welcomed students and those with visual impairments. Members of Eye To Eye ran the event for both social and educational purposes.
Eye To Eye is a Laurier club that works to diminish stigmas around visual impairment and blindness through education, awareness and communication. They host numerous events throughout the year in order to achieve this goal. Wednesday’s Dinner in the Dark was one of their main events for this year.
The dinner is an annual occurrence, during which attendees are given blindfolds in order to experience a meal and conversation without the use of visual senses.
“The objective of the experience is to give people a taste of what it’s like to have a visual impairment for the night,” said Hillary Scanlon, one of the co-presidents of Eye To Eye.
However, the take-away of the dinner went beyond a simple experience. The club is hoping that the event will change peoples’ understanding of what it’s like to live with a visual impairment.
“Hopefully they realize that, even though this is much different than what they’re used to, it’s still possible,” Scanlon said.
“We just have to go about it in a different way.”
“The aim [of the event] wasn’t to have people come away with [the idea that] ’now I know how awful peoples’ lives are who have vision loss,’” Scanlon said.
Instead, the club wanted attendees to understand that living without full vision simply calls for a different way of doing life.
This year’s dinner sold about 30 tickets, which Scanlon described as a “great number,” due to the atmosphere it created for those with visual impairments.
[Text Wrapping Break]“They’re generally relying on sound, conversation and cues around them to let them know what’s happening,” Scanlon said.
“It was a large group, but it wasn’t overwhelming, so people were still able to have conversations and socialize while enjoying their meal.”
Despite the dinner’s success, the club doesn’t have time to celebrate quite yet, as they’re busy preparing for their concluding event of the year.
On Thursday, Mar. 21, Eye To Eye will be running a film screening of the award-winning documentary Pick Up the Litter.
The documentary follows the lives of five puppies as they train to become seeing eye dogs for the blind. The screening will be shown with closed captioning and audio description.
The organization that is featured in the film will even be sending one of its guide dogs to the event.
All students are welcome to attend the free screening, which will be held in BA201 at 7:30 p.m.