To continue the mission of educa- tion for all set, 174 years ago by Olivet College, students have started the Dis- ability Rights Council (DRC) to educate about and advocate for those with disabilities.
These students decided that dis- ability rights, etiquette and history materials were necessary to have on campus. Brandie Pomeroy, sophomore and DRC secretary said, “Our main goal with Disabilities Rights Council is we want to make it aware of the dis- abilities for the students on campus, whether it’s mental or physical. We want to raise awareness for and push forward to make it so more disabled students have the ability to come to Olivet College if they want to come here.”
In terms of advocating, DRC is working on changes to make campus buildings more accessible. Rachel Stoneburner, junior and DRC social chair, said, “We’re just looking for advocacy and accessibility changes to be made on campus, like door handles and dimmer switches. We tried Braille, but the stickers just don’t stick that well because it’s all brick. Essentially making the buildings more easily accessible sothat a di erent population can comehere as well.”
According Stoneburner, this is the organization’s fourth semester. In that amount of time, the students involved have done events over the last couple of semesters to educate students on disability etiquette and history. Stoneburner said, “There’s not enough education on it. Educating people and making people know that it’s worth it is also another one of our struggles, because people don’t understand. It’s not just being in a wheelchair. It’s not just having a physical disability. There’s so much more than just that.”
In terms of education, DRC has been putting on educational panels throughout this semester. According to Pomeroy, they plan on having a “De-stress Mason Jar” event, similar to one they held earlier in the year. DRC is also planning on having a wheelchair basketball game in the fall.
Pomeroy said, “We’d actually have students sign up on teams like the IMs do and have them go in wheelchairs and try and play basketball like they normally would. That way they get
the experience of what it’s like to do a regular activity that they do all the time but from a handicap person’s perspective.”
Britain Price, junior and a founding DRC member, said that along with educating, creating an environment where people feel comfortable is another goal. Price said, “It’s normal for people to have disorders, but we still shame about them as a world as a whole, whether they are seen or unseen. So, what we try to do is let the people with disabilities know that they have a home, make sure that they’re safe, and educate students that want to know more.”
According to Price, they now have the volunteers to start advocating for things to make the campus more accessible to those with handicaps. Price said, “I’ve watched this build from the ground up and it’s been one wild windstorm, but we’ve grown a lot from this in the past two years.” He said the group welcome new members.
The Disability Rights Council meets on Thursdays at 8 p.m. in Mott 107.