University recognized for disability accommodations


Gianna Sobieski

The Illini Union has a disability ramp on the Main Quad for those who can not use the stairs.

By Meghana Kaza, Staff Writer

The University was recently recognized as the second best college for students with physical disabilities by College Magazine.

According to the publication, the 10 schools that made the list were judged on the basis of their accessible dorms, classrooms and transportation. The schools also get the entire campus involved by advocating for awareness and inclusion for students with physical disabilities.

Zain Bando, freshman in Media, uses a wheelchair. He said the University deserves the recognition.

“It’s wonderful to see the University of Illinois take great strides in making sure that students with disabilities are considered when attending a major university,” Bando said in an email.

The University has implemented efforts to make the college experience more convenient for those with disabilities. For example, Nugent Hall is a disability-friendly dormitory that provides students with assistance for laundry services, daily room services, maintenance, computer tech support and parking.

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According to the Disability Resources & Educational Services center on campus, each member of the community at Nugent Hall is responsible for contributing in maintaining a positive residential environment so that all members have opportunities for personal growth.

Bando said one of the services that helps him the most is DRES, as it provides academic accommodations for classes such as extended examination times and even class scribes.

“DRES does a great job of meeting student needs on a regular basis,” Bando said.

In addition, the University’s bus system is an asset for helping students make their way around campus. Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District buses assist students in getting around campus to classes, dorms and off-campus locations.

“This allows students with disabilities to have another way to transport themselves if the weather is restricting them from doing so,” Bando said.

However, Bando said he notices the University still needs to improve accessibility in certain aspects.

“A drawback of the system is that if you have a special event that you’d like to go to on a weekend evening, you have to call them on the Wednesday (before) the event,” Bando said. “Sometimes, plans can change, and I wish there was a way to find a solution in order to make the traveling experience better.”

In addition, as a sports fan, Bando wishes the State Farm Center was more accessible for students with disabilities. He has noticed the Orange Krush entrance is not accessible, which forces him to go through the main west entrance and ask for someone to escort him to his seat.

“I wish there was a way that students in wheelchairs who are part of Orange Krush could independently check in without having an escort take them to their seat every single game,” Bando said.

However, Bando agrees the disability friendliness of the campus is the main reason why he decided to attend the University.

“I feel like I have gotten a good grasp on how to navigate the campus well enough to where I know where I’m going at all times,” Bando said. “The directions to places are relatively easy, and as far as my classes are concerned, I don’t have to walk very far.”

The University has organizations to make students with disabilities feel welcomed. Delta Sigma Omicron was founded by Dr. Timothy J. Nugent, whom Nugent Hall on campus is also named after.

DSO is an established fraternity on campus, is fully comprised of those with disabilities and is dedicated to education, research and service in rehabilitation.

“If anyone that has a disability is considering attending college, look no further than Champaign-Urbana,” Bando said. “I could not imagine seeing myself anywhere else in the country because of how accessible the campus is.”

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