- Virginia Lozano/Daily
By Charlotte Jenkins, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 8, 2013
The University’s chapter of the Delta Gamma women’s fraternity hosted best-selling author Michael Hingson for its second Lectureship in Ethics and Leadership event Tuesday to a crowd of about 200 students and guests.
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Blind since birth, Hingson was at work on the 78th floor of the World Trade Center on 9/11. Roselle, then his guide dog, led Hingson and others down the 78 flights of stairs and through the chaotic situation that ensued that day.
Lectureship is a national Delta Gamma event that will occur on 19 campuses throughout the country this year. This is Delta Gamma’s second such event at the University. The first was held in spring 2011 and featured Kerry Kennedy, an American human rights activist and writer.
LSA junior Ailie Steir, vice president of communications for Delta Gamma, said the event’s purpose is to bring someone to campus that can talk about ideals, values and ethics.
At a national level, Delta Gamma has chosen to support Service for Sight, a charity which raises awareness about obstacles for the blind or nearly blind populations and the resources available to them.
Lectureship speakers do not have to relate to the sorority’s chosen cause, but Steir said the chapter and alumni were excited about Hingson’s connection to activism for the blind. Hingson previously spoke at the Delta Gamma National Convention in Indiana.
Hingson discussed his own experiences as a disabled person and his foundation’s work advocating for the blind.
“As a society, we don’t tolerate differences, we fear them,” Hingson said. “I look forward to the day I can walk into a restaurant and be handed a menu in Braille.”
In 2011, Hingson established Roselle’s Dream Foundation, named in honor of the heroic guide dog. Proceeds benefit blind people in need of technological aids, such as the $5,495 machine that allows them to take notes in Braille.
Members of the Manchester Lions Club — a local chapter of the national service organization — traveled from Manchester, Mich. to the event. Lions member Peggy Allen said she heard about the event through the Ann Arbor Lions Club, and wanted to attend because of the Lions’ work supporting leader-dog programs for the blind and supplying low-income or disabled people with eyeglasses.
Engineering freshman Nikki Steltenkamp, a member of Delta Gamma, said she heard about the event during sorority recruitment.
“One of the biggest pieces of advice my dad gave me before leaving for school was to go to everything, no matter what,” Steltenkamp said. “An event like this shows that college is not just about parties or studying.”
LSA sophomore McKenna Meyer said she expected the lecture to center on Higson’s experience during 9/11, but was pleased to hear about his daily experience as a blind individual and the subjectification he faces.