EAGLES are taking flight on campus
Throughout the years, Auburn University has developed ways to make campus more inclusive and diverse in all areas. With initiatives that include the Black Student Union and the International Students Organization, Auburn has made great strides to make the campus a home where everyone is accepted and celebrated. As part of these strides, a new program has made its way to campus, thanks to an initiative started by 2017 Miss Auburn, Ashley Moates. Moates’s platform was to create postsecondary education opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities. This dream became a reality when EAGLES launched in Fall 2018.
By beginning EAGLES (Education to Accomplish Growth in Life Experiences for Success), Auburn joined the growing list of universities across the nation creating similar programs. This year, four new students began attending their dream school thanks to EAGLES. The students live in the Village Residence Hall, have an On-Campus job and take classes. One of these students is Anna Moates, Ashley Moates’s sister, and the EAGLES Program Instruction Coordinator, Teanna Moore, explained Ashley Moates’ hand in the program by saying, “Ashley has been great with lending her support to events the EAGLES Program had when it began. I believe she was most influential in creating ’All for Inclusion,' an on-campus organization designed to promote a more inclusive environment at AU. Organizations like All for Inclusion, Best Buddies and Council for Exceptional Children (to list a few) have been great with creating events and activities to help our students feel more at home at Auburn.” In an interview with The Auburn Plainsman in October of 2017, Ashley Moates said, “People with disabilities are not defined by their disabilities, it is a characteristic of who they are, not a definition.”
As the Instruction Coordinator, Teanna Moore witnesses first-hand the changes in the students all over Auburn’s campus. She says, “I have had the pleasure of watching these students not only acclimate to college life but become successful in it. They are maintaining employment on campus, engaging with peers in various activities and events, and attending program-specific and university courses. They have truly made me proud. I am happy to have been a part of their journey.” Without the help of Moore and other faculty and students, this program would not be where it is today.
Now, traditional Auburn students have the opportunity to volunteer with students in EAGLES. Through this, the bond between all Auburn students has strengthened. Day by day and step by step, Auburn is becoming a place where every prospective student has the chance to say “War Eagle.”