Imagine you are a freshman who has a class in the Lyceum in the Union. You’re already nervous you are going to do something stupid. Adding to your nerves is the fact that you are forced to sit on top of this huge room because you can’t take the steps and you don’t know about the door that leads to the front that’s labeled as clearly as your elementary school’s mystery meat. “Come down here and hand in your test when you’re done.” That’s something every college student hears at some point in their college career. What if you can’t do that though?
You can’t take the steps because you happen to use a wheelchair to get to class. You try urgently to get the professor’s attention with a raised hand while saying nothing so you don’t disturb the other students taking the test. When that didn’t work you decide to give your test to a student by you who volunteers to bring your test down. Your professor does notice that though. “Hey! What’s going on?” So much for you not disturbing the other students as they all turn around to see what’s going on. Finally, you are left looking for a hole to crawl in while you are wondering if your professor is upset with you.
“Why do we need a new Union?” This is something I have heard from many students and it’s a valid question. The staff at the Union does an amazing job with the few resources they have. It makes me wonder what they could do with a brand new state-of-the-art building. But there are some issues with the Union for people, disabled and able bodied alike. For one, I can run faster than the elevator. OK that was a joke but it is slow and it has broken down a couple of times. Also, the Campus Chat can be very difficult for a person who uses a wheelchair because of a lack of space. Hopefully a new Union with better management of space would solve that. Finally, working in the Union can be a tight squeeze, whether you use a wheelchair or not. I work for the Student Government Association and our office is very cozy. The Union we have now is good but a new one could be so much better.
Director of Student Affairs
Student Government Association
University of North Texas