Urbana Sensory Room
Urbana, North America’s largest student missions conference, has been guiding students in discerning their place in God's mission since 1946. Over 10,000 college students and alumni from the United States, Canada and beyond descended on St. Louis, Missouri, for Urbana 18, five vibrant days of multi-lingual worship, thoughtful speakers, in-depth Scripture study and compelling conversations about God's heart for the world.
For the first time since this conference began in 1946, a sensory room was offered to students. Deb Abbs, along with her InterVarsity supervisor, Robert Burdett, led the efforts as the first Disability Resource Coordinator for InterVarsity.
“I was amazed by God this past week at Urbana Missions Conference. I work for InterVarsity and for the first time ever we set up a sensory room so those at the conference who got overwhelmed by the huge dome sessions at America Center (10,000 plus people) had a calm and quiet space to go. One student explained, ‘The shaking from the amplifiers and guitars always makes me feel sick and panicky and I am used to added feelings of isolation on top of that when I have to leave. It was a huge blessing to have a space to go TO this year (she was at Urbana 2015). The supplies in the room helped me calm down and create the environment in its own right instead of just the absence of something. Thank you again!’ This sums it up. Just want to encourage each of you. The spaces you create matter so much!” -- Debbie Abbs, Disability Resource Coordinator
“This lounge is a calm, quiet space and includes: semi-private areas, weighted blankets, neck wraps, coloring books, fidgets and more. Participants can come and de-stress before heading back in to hear the speaker.” -- Deb Abbs
We hope you are just as inspired by the thoughtfulness and intentionality of Deb and her team creating this space as we were!