Carleton University is a place where we live, work, and play and we are committed to making it (and the world) more accessible. We take accessibility into account from the start as we actively work to identify, address, and reduce barriers. This starts with our community, a place where we can explore, discover, embrace, and sustain a culture of accessibility and in turn, share this knowledge and passion with others. To support this effort, we need people with living/lived experience working with allies toward lasting change.

“I decided to use my voice to speak up to the pressing need to consider accessibility in terms of diversity and not as a defined checklist to simply be checked off.”  Patricia Bérubé, Student Accessibility Champion, 2021

The Accessibility Institute at Carleton University (formerly the READ Initiative) wants to learn with and from the next generation of accessibility professionals. The Student Accessibility Champions initiative provides real-world leadership and skills development for students. With guidance and direction from mentors, Student Accessibility Champions personally engage in experiences that will expand their knowledge, awareness, and understanding of accessibility and disability.

Change must happen if we are to re-model how disability is understood and experienced.  Carleton’s Student Accessibility Champions are agents of that change, providing a sense of connection and community and building an identity for future Ravens to see themselves and to feel recognized and welcomed.

“It is validation that the voice I cultivated matters, and not only have I left behind ripples in my community, but it gives me the confidence to take my voice out into the world around me.” Rebecca Andre, Student Accessibility Champion, 2021

Donated funds support experiential learning and leadership experiences for students and support any accommodations required for full participation in the initiative. Accessibility Champions build their advocacy and allyship skills by initiating important conversations surrounding accessibility, access, and accommodations. They will strengthen collaboration skills, hone presentation skills, and experience playing a pivotal role in inspiring passion, awareness, and excitement in the community. These student leaders will be ambassadors for accessibility at Carleton and will be provided with platforms to share their message about this important issue.