As the new school year begins, new club organizations have been created at DePauw. Some of them were introduced in the Activities Fair last Aug. 25, and some of them are still in the process of arrangement. Among them, is Access Granted DePauw.
Access Granted is a newly created organization that aims to provide more accessibility and to develop an inclusive community for students with disabilities. Although it has not yet officially been accepted as a student organization, the members of the club prepared to create this association under President Mj Galloway.
Mj faces various challenges as a student with a disability and a chronic illness, such as navigating campus by themselves due to the lack of wheelchair-accessible services. Mj also mentioned their experiences with ableism, a complex issue that can be challenging to understand in higher education institutions due to strict academic policies and requirements that students need to fulfill. These experiences encouraged them to take the first step to make a change for future students with disabilities —establishing Access Granted DePauw.
The organization’s mission is “to be a pillar of support and provide resources for students at DePauw with disabilities and chronic illness.” Access Granted DePauw not only seeks to spread the voice of their members but also addresses the message of what it means to be a student with a disability, how the DePauw community can help each other, and how they can create a sense of belonging. As Mj was once lost and felt lonely in their college life, they wanted to create a space where students with disability can be actively involved in the college community.
“Access Granted is meant to encourage students to hold a constant open dialogue on disability, deconstruct stigma around what it means to be disabled, provide space for students who feel frustrated with ableism in academia, foster community among students who are dealing with disability, and chronic illness here on campus, and most importantly make accessibility a priority instead of an afterthought,” Mj said.
It might take time to make a change, but the organization hopes to inspire more people eventually on a larger scale so that people with disabilities are understood and supported.
The board members of Access Granted DePauw include the following:
- President: Mj Galloway
- Vice president: Emma Shober
- Faculty Advisor: Professor Amity Reading
- Media Manager: Erilyn Mann
- Secretary/Support Manager: Mac Smith
To learn and keep up with events, follow Access Granted DePauw @accessgranteddpu on Instagram!