Creating Accessible Campuses
My Student Union is doing work right now around issues of student residences. This is something that’s very much on my mind right now in light of the recent highlighting of difficulties of having a service animal when living on campus. In reading the Yummy Puppy Adventures – or, more accurately, the Mount Holyoke College Accessibility Fail – I started to really think about what an accessible residence experience would look like for students with disabilities.
So of course I brought it up to one of my student union executives, and instead of, say, asking students with disabilities for feedback on the issue, or contacting student accessibility services, he suggested I send him an email detailing out my concerns.
(In his defense, it is a month until school is over, and he is busy, and he doesn’t even know what to ask. I’m not irritated with him, just with the situation in general.)
So, this is the short list of things that I’ve come up with, but I know from previous discussions with the community that I will miss important things that should be considered.
In no order:
- Clearly post that service animals are allowed around campus and in campus dorms and facilities.
- List on both your residence page and your student accessibility services page that there are residences for students with disabilities.
- Private washrooms with grip bars for toilet & shower/bath.
- Wider doors & hallways.
- Barrier free access to all dorm rooms.
- Residence Orientation that mentions accessibility features to all students, including re-iterating scent free policies and that service animals are allowed on campus.
- The ability to change any room over to have lights that flash for alerts.
- A map of campus that indicates all barrier-free access points to all buildings.
- Highlighting menu plans that accommodate food allergies or intolerances.
I’m certain I’m missing obvious things.
Please, give me your thoughts?