How College Campuses are Becoming Increasingly Accessible

Sep 11, 2014
Tagged with: How College Campuses are Becoming Increasingly Accessible

With classes in full swing on college campuses around the country, students are finding themselves amidst a lot of change: rigid class structures, tuition and textbooks costs, new roommates, and so on.

One of the other changes that may not be immediately noticeable to most students is that colleges on a wide scale are beginning to become more and more accommodating to students with disabilities. This is really nothing new; nearly all colleges comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. But there are many colleges that are taking the regulations set forth by the act—and later revamped in 2010—very seriously.

As colleges have adapted to the ADA, students with disabilities have seen many adaptive changes to make campus life much easier. In most cases, the changes are of a benefit solely to their needs. Yet, there are some advances that are making life easier for all students.

One such is example are electronic key cards that are slowly gaining momentum on college campuses. Students with these cards can gain automatic entry into their dorm room. Those with mobility issues have a much easier time accessing their rooms with such technology, not having to rely on standard keys or aging and badly maintained doorknobs.

There are, of course, more traditional accessible features springing up in larger numbers across the US and other parts of the globe. These include:

  • More accessible ramps.
  • Modified elevators that allow more room.
  • More curb cuts along the sidewalks.
  • Lowered water fountains.
  • Lowered urinals, sinks, and other restroom features.
  • Software that changes type to Braille.
  • Audible crossing signals.
  • More power doors.
  • A larger number of accessible van parking spaces in every lot.

Some campuses, such as Vanderbilt in Tennessee, have even gone so far as to ban motorized bicycles or scooters on campus sidewalks, accommodating students with disabilities who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices.

While these alterations are a welcome change to those with mobility concerns, it doesn’t stop there. As these changes occur at a steadfast rate on college campuses, it also starts to trickle into the surrounding towns and cities.

NCHPAD articles:

http://www.nchpad.org/341/1999/Best~Practice~of~Inclusive~Services~~The~Value~of~Inclusion

http://www.nchpad.org/324/1949/Designing~a~System~of~Quality~Care

http://www.nchpad.org/875/4980/Adoption~of~the~Revised~ADA~Standards~for~Accessible~Design~~What~it~Means~to~Recreation~Facilities

Author: Chris Miller