This past weekend I visited a former professor at my alma mater college in the Midwest. As I drove through the outskirts of campus, the hilly sections brought back memories when my classmates and I, weather permitting, sat one those hills and studied. Now years later I see many sections of the campus newly remodeled. It made me really want to go back and start all over again!
Now that I work at Handi-Ramp I am much more aware of the needs of those who require wheelchairs to get around. All I could think was how the heck would you get a wheelchair ramp up that big of an incline with all of those steps!
How many classmates do I remember who rode around in wheelchairs?
Ten percent of the population gets around in wheelchairs, so you might wonder if I had a few friends who utilized a wheelchair. I tried to think back (as far as high school), and I could clearly remember those students. Any formal education I had after that does not spark a memory. I had one really wonderful and amazing classmate who was disabled, but not in a wheelchair.
I could not help but wonder to what extent my Alma mater campus was wheelchair accessible. If it was, it was not obvious at all. With all of the renovations on campus, it was not apparent that there was wheelchair accessibility. With today’s technology it couldn’t be too hard to order and install a portable ramp, or maybe a permanent ramp with handrails could it?
Imagining getting around on a college campus in a wheelchair
Anyway as I reacclimatized myself with the campuses buildings, dorms, cafeteria, classroom buildings and libraries I tried to imagine myself attempting to maneuver around in a wheelchair. I probably could have done it, but it would have been heavy workout, and I would not have made it to class on time. It is a beautiful campus, but does it invite in the person in the wheelchair for a “stroll around?”
Every year I donate money to my college, well, nearly every year. This year I am going to ask the young scholars of my Alma mater about accessibility and how many students require special needs and accommodations? I can guess that most of the students who make the calls for fundraising do not know the answers, but it is worth asking, if nothing else, to get them to ask the question themselves.
Colleges, with an emphasis on Social Justice, should provide justice for those in wheelchairs
Social justice is a big buzzword in education these days. Colleges, of all places, should be welcoming and inclusive of students who use a wheelchair to get around. Universities and colleges are all about diversity. It should not end with the color of skin and ethnicity. A truly socially just and integrated society should be all inclusive. And that includes people who get around in a wheelchair.
For more information about how to make your college campus wheelchair accessible call Handi-Ramp at (800) 876-RAMP.