In the Nov. 6, 2015 edition of the Echo, freshman Jeff Humphrey said, “Something does need to be done,” in reference to helping those with disabilities. He is visually impaired.
Well, Jeff, rest assured, something is being done, and you have made a difference here at Olivet College.
The college moved forward in full force with meetings to decide how to handle accessibility issues, asking - When will we be capable of improving the campus to accommodate the impaired? When can the signs be installed? When is the City of Olivet available to install the tactile crosswalks?
When is past and dealt with.
President Steven Corey made this situation a main priority. When asked, he discussed the main changes being made for the visually impaired. “We’d like to make improvements in this area to better serve our campus community and guests,” Corey said.
The improvements include: installing braille signage starting in key places, such as bathrooms in the Mott Academic Center, as well as adding tactile plates [textured ground surface indicators] on the new sidewalk crosswalks while repaving the square and Dole Hall to help those with visual impairments to stay safe while crossing the streets of Olivet.
The college is also “looking at the feasibility of adding more of these at other crossings around the campus.” These plans to improve were also confirmed by director of college relations Molly Goaley.
“Olivet College has been making changes and upgrades to its facilities in an effort to create a more inclusive campus for all students,” Goaley said.
Goaley gave information on the process Olivet is going through to better serve students. “Part of that process includes improving conditions for students and visitors who are blind or visually impaired. The college has upgrading signage for all of the main buildings on campus to include braille.” Room labeling for Mott and Dole came first, with other buildings to follow, Goaley said.
In addition, the college has worked with the City of Olivet to install tactile paving along the crosswalks to assist pedestrians who are blind or visually impaired to know where the sidewalk ends and the road begins.
President Corey added that Humphrey has been instrumental in bringing attention to the need for these updates on campus. “I’ve had the chance to discuss accessibility with Jeff on several occasions. He has been very helpful in providing advice and an important perspective on how we can make the Olivet College campus more accessible and friendly to persons with disabilities, particularly for those with visual impairments,” Corey said. The college worked with a sign vendor to develop the plan to add braille enabled signage throughout campus.
As the winter weather takes hold, Physical Plant and Campus Safety are keeping an eye on sidewalk and parking lot conditions. Students and staff are welcome to call either office and report problems, from icy sidewalks to snow piles. All normal parking rules are in force.
Photo: A demonstration of how to read a braille sign for the men's restroom in the Conervatory./Mitch Galloway