The second annual dance for those in the community with disabilities was held Saturday, March 19 in the Cohen Center ballroom. The event, which was a more casual affair than last year’s inaugural starry night prom, was a tiki bar themed spring fling.
The number of attendees nearly doubled this year. Along with the 96 participants from the Foundation for the Developmentally Disabled, compared to last year’s 46, more than 100 FGCU students also attended FGCU Spring Fling for a fun way to receive service-learning hours.
Two-time event co-organizer Lauren Morimanno, a service-learning ambassador, said the event will be an annual affair officially titled Spring Dance for People with Disabilities, which will simply change theme each year.
Similar to the first dance, the tunes played ranged from hits to throwbacks to country and salsa meringue, as per attendees’ requests.
A particularly touching moment came when a participant, Beau, asked the DJ to call Morimanno to the front of the room, where he quickly removed his camouflage baseball cap, dropped down on one knee and asked Morimanno to be his girlfriend. She, of course, said yes and shared a dance with him.
“What I love about this sort of population is there’s no judgment, and everybody just loves each other so much,” Morimanno said. “There’s pureness in their hearts; they’re not being your friend for other reasons. They’re really just being your friend because they enjoy you and who you are, and you’re able to then enjoy who they are. We’re more alike than different. That’s for sure.”
We’re more alike than different has been a running theme on campus this week withå Morimanno’s takeover of the We Are FGCU Instagram. We Are FGCU is an account boasting, “FGCU through the eyes of a different student each week!” In Morimanno’s daily posts, she often shared students with disabilities that she has the opportunity of working with along with the hashtag “we are more alike than different.”
“It was cool to be able to be an advocate for people with disabilities this week, and I was really able to kind of reach a large population that maybe has never touched the topic,” Morimanno said. “So, I was able to kind of shine a light — a positive light of awareness for fun.”