As part of its attempt to address accessibility on campus, the Student’s Association (SA) Government Senate Campus Services Committee held a “Button Walk” Friday.
Participants walked around campus trying to find broken handicap buttons and inaccessible ramps on campus.
The Button Walk came a day after “Stories for Accessibility,” an event held by the Campus Services Committee to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by people with disabilities on a daily basis.
The event was inspired, in part, by the apparent need for the accessibility of campus to be assessed.
“Somebody mentioned how sometimes, even the buttons don’t work,” said Deputy Chair of the Campus Services Committee Alexandria Brown, a junior who is also a member of the Campus Times Editorial Board. “It’s important that for people who maybe don’t have the ability to open doors, those doors can be opened for them.”
Brown explained that the event’s organizer, Campus Services Committee Chair and senior Dan Matthews, was also inspired by the Walk for Light last fall.
Similar to the Walk for Light, students went out around campus in small groups. They then reported any issues they found. Matthews, however, decided to change the reporting process to a digital one using a Google Form for continuous reporting.
The Button Walk revealed the degree to which campus may be unintentionally inaccessible. Both the door to the Susan B. Anthony Hall elevator and the Sage Art Center were found to not open automatically. The front door to O’Brien Hall had broken handicap buttons, and Wilder Hall was found to be entirely inaccessible.
Matthews is planning to compile a list of accessibility concerns to submit to UR. He is hoping that it brings to the attention of the administration the issue of accessibility, and that it leads to changes being made on campus to improve accessibility.
“I think there are a lot of students who are passionate about this, who want to come to these events,” Matthews said. “I hope students are aware of this on a day to day basis, that they are not just passing by, not noticing that this is a real issue. I hope at the very least, these programs brought that to people’s attention.”