Alec Dragelin said he got excited when he found out running for Mr. UNC included a service component.
An exercise and sport science major and Hispanic studies minor from Charlotte, Dragelin has a passion for working with people with disabilities and said he hopes to share that with UNC students. He’s also president of the a cappella group Psalm 100 and a member of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity.
Through Carolinability, he plans to hold a “Joy Prom” for people with disabilities. Participants will be paired up with UNC students as hosts for the night.
Dragelin originally got involved with Joy Prom in the eighth grade when his church hosted the event. He said his youth pastor asked who would notice if the student group ceased to exist.
“That really challenged me and struck a chord within me,” he said. “(Joy Prom) opened my eyes to what it means to serve somebody, and what it means to be selfless and love somebody unconditionally.”
Dragelin said his goal is to take emphasis off of disabilities and focus on a person’s abilities instead.
“My dream for this school is to have an atmosphere where we as UNC students view people with disabilities, not by their disabilities, but view them in light of their abilities instead,” he said
Dragelin said he doesn’t think the UNC community is yet at the point where it views people in this way. He said he believes this event will be a catalyst for changing the atmosphere at UNC about viewing and understanding what it’s like to live with a disability.
“I think that requires a change of heart in a lot of ways,” he said.