Goal of the event:
To raise awareness and to make students experience how it feels to do an everyday life task, as eating without being able to use the sense of vision.
Short description of the event:
Exchange students "lost their sense of vision" at the entrance to our restaurant. Board and active members of ESN Jyväskylä were guiding them to their place and throughout the dinner. After taking their seats, the dining guests were exploring their table, pouring their drinks themselves and starting with buttering their breads as their starter. Then the main course was served - a food consisting of very different components and consistencies. Knifes and forks had to be used to master the it. As a desert Finnish gingerbread was served, as well as tea and coffee.
Our servants were mainly acting like in a real restaurant, giving additional help only when needed.
In the end participants were asked about their feelings, experiences and feedback.
How did your event go?:
The students had fun and gave positive feedback about this experience, which was very new to them. Some of them mentioned, that they never really thought of how difficult an every day life task like eating can get, when one of your senses is suddenly not active anymore. Some found it more difficult then others, but everyone rated it as a very enriching experience.
We mixed the students for the first time (friends not sitting with friend), which fostered communication at the tables. As the "servants" you always have to keep in mind that YOU can still see, but the dining guests can not. Instructions have to be given differently, people might be scared if you suddenly stand behind them and start talking. Another difficulty is to make sure everyone gets their special diet, as people won't see what they are eating.
This event could especially be improved by giving the servants a similar experience before they act as servants, so they will know how the blindfolded people will feel. Additionally it would be great to have a person with visual impairment speaking about his/her personal experiences after the dinner. Also some competition between the tables could be done (after the dinner), as giving each table a certain amount of objects and they have to get as many objects right as possible. Also a blindfolded drawing competition (e.g. drawing the section's mascot) is a fun option.