Hi for the final time from Elias,
This year has been busy! We have done a range of things from Disability Room improvement, advocacy, casual events and workshops to two semester-long Auslan courses.
The collective’s room has gone through several updates this year, after moving rooms last year we had the massive task of making it meet the needs of our members. I want to especially acknowledge the incredible work the operations officers of this year did in checking the room and bringing forward ideas constantly on what needs to be done.
Here’s a quick list of what we have done:
- Bunk beds in the rest and recovery room to allow people with disabilities to nap and rest when needed
- Freebies shelf with earplugs, lanyards, pads, sexual health items
- Low lighting options for the rooms including a star projector, lamps, fairy lights
- Stim/fidget toys available to use in the room
- TV back up on the wall to be used by students
- Free walking canes for those that can’t afford them
- A food bank for when people can’t afford to buy lunch
- A stocked coffee and tea selection
- Animal assistance bed and water bowl available to use in the room
- Phone charging station
- Stand desks in study rooms
- Free craft supplies to use in the room
- Signage on the doors and windows to better indicate what the room is
- Ramp for the front door
And that’s not all, it’s been amazing to be a part of making an inclusive space for varying needs to accommodations. The room has come to life this year.
Closed captions policy
This year I pushed for a policy to be put in place for automatic closed captions on recorded lectures. This was approved through the appropriate committees and will be in place for semester 1 2023. It’s an important step in the right direction, allowing students to have a policy that supports them when accommodations aren’t met and create consistency in accessible learning.
Alicia, my co-officer, has spent the last year and a half conducting a research project. This was done via a survey circulated in semester one, calling for students with disabilities to share their experiences and input on accessibility and discrimination at UQ.
The project gives incredible insight into how well UQ is doing in some areas and how poorly it’s doing in others. With UQ being a research-focused university having data, statistics and a published report on disabilities at UQ enables us to back up our complaints.
Disability discrimination law education
In semester two Alicia organised two Lunch With a Lawyer sessions, inviting students to listen to and discuss with Robin Banks, who is an expert in disability law and has previously been an anti-discrimination commissioner for Tasmania. This opportunity empowered students by teaching them what is discrimination and what they can do about it.
Student Access Plans (SAPs), Exam Adjustments (EAs) and Student Services
Alicia frequently met with student services to collaborate and check in on their improvements. This year student service has started a project to overhaul SAPs and EAs, they gave Alicia and I the platform to speak on the issues we saw and provide feedback on how it needs to be improved. They trialed a new booking system in semester 2, and with feedback from the collective and other students they are rolling out a system that has online booking again soon.
We ran several events this year, including
- Market day stalls at St Lucia and Gatton
- Autism Awareness stall
- ADHD Study Workshops run by an ADHD coach who is a psychologist with ADHD
- Social events such as lunches, movie afternoons, crafternoons
- Took part in the Un-Fair
- Auslan introduction courses
- Auslan lunch teaching basic Auslan and the importance of d/Deaf and hard of hearing inclusion
- Lunch with a lawyer
This is the most events we have run in a long time and it’s been amazing to connect the community more and more.
Thank you for an incredible year and best of luck to our new officers Sian and Jester.