How Accessible are CEU’s New Buildings?

On Saturday, March 4, some of CEU's Alumni Scholarship Recipients (ASRs) got together to conduct an accessibility audit of CEU's campus. As part of our scholarships, we ASRs dedicate a number of volunteer hours to helping out on campus or even launching our own initiatives.

This project, called "CEU Inclusive: Mapping and Breaking the Barriers," was initiated by a group of ASRs with the intention of making CEU more inclusive and accessible to students and staff with physical disabilities. CEU is an international community esteemed for the diversity of its students. We were inspired by this vision and knew our community would want to ensure inclusiveness. Although CEU's new buildings are beautiful, state of the art spaces, we also know that sometimes individuals with disabilities go under the radar. That is what inspired us to initiate this project. Since last semester, we have been meeting, brainstorming, and collaborating with staff and mentors in order to design this project.

At 10:00 am, on Saturday, we met for snacks and for a brief training session with other ASRs supporting the project. We then broke off into teams, armed with our measuring tapes and checklists, to appraise CEU's new buildings, Nador 13 and Nador 15, including the library. We assessed a variety of components: Are there barriers on the way to the buildings? Parking spaces for persons with disabilities? Are the entrances to the buildings wide enough? Easy to open? Once inside, are the tables too high? Is it easy to maneuver? Are there bathrooms for persons with disabilities? Elevators? Afterwards, we met and collected all of the checklists to be analyzed and evaluated.

There are certainly a lot of factors to consider when it comes to evaluating spaces for accessibility, and for an able-bodied person, these can be all too easy to overlook. It felt really good to get together with students from different departments to work on something that will make CEU a better place for current and future students. With all of this information, we hope to make CEU an even more inclusive and diverse space.

Next week, more of us ASRs will get together to analyze the Residence Center. We are now working on analyzing the data we collected and will soon be ready to present our conclusions. Stay tuned!

 by Jillian Lipman (NATI '16, USA) and Jose Manuel Osorio (MEDS '18, Peru)