For students in a wheelchair, life on campus consists of struggles getting through the day-to-day normalities of being an ACU student.
Emma Harper, senior speech pathology major from Dallas, decided to dedicate research to this problem.
Harper said her inspiration for her research comes from the struggles she saw her friend tackle every day.
“They were telling me about times that they have not had complete access to things due to their, impaired mobility, Harper said. “That just really caught me off guard and I’ve never had to think about getting to a class if the elevator is going to work and if it doesn’t.”
Students used wheelchairs to go through a designated course and answer one question: If ACU was to become more accessible, according to students, what’s the first thing that they should change?
Students rated the social aspect and academic aspects of different buildings in regard to their accessibility.
Students went through 18 different areas and ranked them on a scale of one to five on how hard it was to access in a wheelchair.
31 students volunteered to participate in Harper’s social experiment.
Ava MacMiller, junior speech pathology major from Dallas, said this experiment brought the struggles of disabled students to light.
“Simple things like opening a door, fitting through a hallway, trying to get things off shelves stuff like that I just never think about in my everyday life,” MacMiller said. “Now it’s moved on beyond ACU; anytime I’m in public facilities sometimes my brain just starts to ask the question ‘how would they deal with the situation that they are given?’”
Harper said she wants her fellow peers to take this experiment and use mindfulness when approaching situations for the accessibility of others.
“There’s a lot of stories of people who just like aren’t aware of the handicap or the accessibility points on campus and so they’ll block something,” Harper said. “Students also shouldn’t make a scene or big deal when helping others.”
Harper presented the findings of her experiment at the URCI 2023 festival.
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