Pace University has become the first university in New York to officially launch the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower program, empowering those with hidden disabilities to take up the Sunflower icon as a means of representation and self-advocacy.

In March of 2022, Pace University student Lucie Belle Flagg ’24, visited her sister who lives overseas in St Andrews, Scotland. There, Lucie was introduced to the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower and how it works worldwide to support individuals with hidden disabilities and help raise awareness. The sunflower is a globally recognized symbol for hidden disabilities and wearing one helps wearers to discreetly signal to people around them that they may need additional support or help in public areas.

Lucie Belle Flagg ’24 said:

“When I first came to Pace, I had a very difficult time getting the accommodations I needed because my disabilities weren’t visible to the human eye. So many of my peers with hidden disabilities had also been turned down for accommodations and I realized that this was a serious issue at Pace. With such emphasis on Opportunitas at Pace, we needed to find a way to offer equitable access to such opportunities. My project proposal aimed to provide support to Pace students, staff, and faculty with hidden disabilities by participating in the Sunflower Lanyard program.”

With the support of Dr. Sue Maxam, Pace University were able to purchase a Hidden Disabilities Sunflower membership and hundreds of lanyards. While Lucie and Dr. Maxam largely rode solo throughout the implementation process, now they are seeing people on campus getting involved and it makes all of the hard work worth it.

Lucie Belle Flagg ’24 said:

“Anyone that self-identifies as having a hidden disability should consider getting involved by representing the Sunflower on campus and educating their peers about hidden disabilities."

For more information about the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower at Pace University, click here