On the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities this past December, President John Meehan, SJ, experienced Campion College from a different perspective. Accepting a challenge from U of R education student Dale Williamson, who is partially paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury, Dr. Meehan navigated through the College building using a wheelchair.
“It was an opportunity to gain a new perspective and a real understanding of the challenges some of our students face every day. This experience will better inform our decision-making process, which, in turn, will help us achieve our goal of creating a barrier-free environment,” says Meehan.
The purpose of the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities is to increase awareness and understanding around some of the issues faced by people with disabilities, and to advocate for their rights and well-being.
“As a Jesuit College, we encourage our students to engage in open dialog to foster an environment that is respectful and welcoming to everyone. We can all benefit from gaining a greater appreciation for each other, and awareness is the first step in that process,” says Meehan.
The Campion College administration is currently developing plans to improve access to and within its building through the construction of a new entrance and elevator.
“The accessibility project will address two critical areas: direct access to our building and an elevator that meets the needs of all individuals who visit our building.” says James Gustafson, executive director, Campion College.
Currently in the design phase, the accessibility project is made possible through funding received from previous annual campaigns and the Ministry of Advanced Education Strategic Preventative Maintenance and Renewal Fund. The Campion College administration plans for construction to begin on the new entryway and elevator in 2015.