Summer season development paves the way in which to a extra accessible campus

This summer, Louisiana Tech University is moving towards a more inclusive and accessible campus for its students, alumni, and members of the Ruston community by installing new walkways across campus.

Stacy Gilbert, Dean of Student Services and Academic Support, said that there is a conversation every year about making campus walkways accessible to all students.

“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is always a part of the conversation, it’s crucial to the inclusivity on campus,” Gilbert said. “Many students and alumni face the challenge of a seen or unseen disability, and these projects can have a positive long-term impact on all our students’ time on campus.”

Students like Anna Claire Amidon amplified the conversation about creating a more accessible and inclusive campus. She worked with Caroline Clifton, a Louisiana Tech Student Government Association senator, to write a resolution urging faculty and administration about the need for accessible walkways.

“I think almost every student has tripped on campus or noticed the large cracks and potholes in our sidewalks,” Clifton said. “By speaking with students who utilize wheelchairs and have a physical disability, I was able to see our campus in a new way.”

Amidon, a sophomore majoring in Accounting, said the new walkways are the beginning of a more accessible campus and she is excited about the future of Louisiana Tech’s campus.

“The new ADA-approved sidewalks are a fantastic start to making Louisiana Tech accessible,” Amidon said. “Everyone will be able to use these sidewalks and it will be unbelievably beneficial to the disabled community.”

Keeny Hall and Bogard Hall will be the main focus area for this project. The new walkways will be completed in six phases that will be fully completed at the beginning of fall quarter.

Accessibility and access to education are a crucial parts of any student’s experience, Gilbert said.

“There is an everyday conversation about how to make our campus better for everyone,” Gilbert said. “Accessibility means respect. If we do not have an accessible, inclusive campus for all of our students then we are not giving our students the best campus experience.”

This story was written by Communication student Kelly Cole.

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