New Mobility has announced the release of Wheels on Campus, a comprehensive college guide for wheelchair users that identifies 20 wheelchair-friendly campuses and cultures that promote an inclusive college experience.
“The culture of inclusion can be extremely different at different institutions,” says Jean Dobbs, Wheels on Campus project director and New Mobility publisher. “We wanted to find those gems, those schools that really go above and beyond to say, ‘Your wheelchair is welcome here, your service dog is welcome here, you are welcome here.'”
Starting with a list of 400 colleges and universities highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report, researchers sent out an exacting survey to disability service offices throughout the United States.
Respondents were scored on 45 criteria specific to wheelchair-using students, including wheelchair-friendly campus terrain, percentage of independently-accessible buildings, integrated accessible housing options, personal assistance programs, adaptive sports and recreation, accessible on-campus transportation, adaptive computer labs, inclusive fraternities and sororities, and more.
To verify survey results that indicated a wheelchair-friendly culture, Wheels on Campus sent wheelchair-using reporters to perform personal tours and inspections and interview students and staff on several campuses. When the pandemic complicated that process, reporters confirmed survey results with extensive phone interviews and online research in combination with their personal experience.
In addition to survey responses, institutions were scored on the number of wheelchair users registered by disability resource offices on each campus. Results demonstrated a strong correlation between the number of registered wheelchair users and a full range of programs and activities that create a truly wheelchair-inclusive culture.
Wheels on Campus, funded by a grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, is available as a free download at www.newmobility.com/wheels-on-campus.