Many students, faculty, and staff, freely walk around campus, going from building to building, experiencing no physical obstacles in their way. Heavy doors? No issue. No elevator? I can take the stairs.
As able-bodied people, we take for granted the ability to easily access any place that we want, without having to consider whether or not there will be handicapped door switches, ramps, elevators, bathroom accessibility, and more. We do not think twice when scheduling new classes or making plans with friends, never stopping to wonder if a building will be physically accessible for us.
When my communication class, Human Connection, was asked to create a mass media campaign for a group project this semester, we were faced with the question: what movement can we create a campaign for on campus? After some contemplation, we decided to raise awareness of the accessibility, or lack thereof, on campus.
This is an issue that all too often goes unnoticed and ignored by the able-bodied, whether intentionally or not. Since it does not impact our daily lives, accessibility can be easily overlooked by able-bodied individuals. This is a disservice and an injustice to the disabled people in our communities, especially when it inhibits a person’s ability to gain an education.
When college campuses are inaccessible, they directly impact the lives of prospective disabled students, preventing equal access to an education. The Alma College community needs to better address the inaccessibility of campus, and this is exactly what our campaign seeks to do.
When setting out on our awareness-building campaign, we aimed to engage with students through social media and surveys. We created an Instagram page, ac_accessibility, to highlight areas of inaccessibility around campus through frequent posts and stories.
It is through this that we hope to start spreading awareness of the inaccessibility around campus, encourage students to talk about this important issue with other students and faculty and to eventually result in positive changes made by the institution itself.
We want everyone at Alma College to be mindful of accessibility and start making their own connections to inaccessible places on campus, sharing them with us.
In addition, there is a survey that all campus members are encouraged to complete; it can be found through the ac_accessibility Instagram as well as through QR codes on posters hung around campus.
We highly encourage students to reflect on the accessibility of campus, for themselves and others, and to think more critically about how the Alma College community can better serve its diverse student body. Survey responses will greatly benefit our collective understanding of student opinion on the accessibility of campus. Your voice matters and deserves to be heard.
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