Without Limits is a student club offered through IGNITE (Humber/Guelph-Humber student association), aimed to provide solidarity for students with disabilities on campus, allowing them to find their voice while educating others.
Ariel Patterson, Irish Dhindsa and Kerry-Ann Jackson launched the club in October 2018 after attending a focus group led by IGNITE President Monica Khosla about accessibility on campus. Shortly after, the students created a club where students with disabilities can share their experiences, talk amongst peers who understand their lifestyle and find solutions to better navigate the campus.
“Finding people who have similar experiences, worries and success stories to share is a huge relief and incredibly empowering. We wanted to share this experience with more people on campus who faced the same challenges we were encountering,” says Patterson.
In addition to Accessible Learning Services on campus, which aims to promote equal access for students with disabilities by coordinating academic accommodations and services, the club brings students of all disabilities together where they can provide support while promoting understanding and acceptance in a larger community.
The club’s goal is to provide opportunities for professors, students and others across campus learn about what resources students need to be at their best.
“We wanted to create a club that anyone can join and show support. The club is open to all who are interested in learning more about how to help one another and understand those with a disability whether it is physical or mental,” says Dhindsa.
The first club event in December featured a guest speaker from the Amputee Coalition of Toronto. Jackson invited the Coalition’s founder, Aristotle (Todd) Domingo to speak at Humber after joining the group’s peer support visitation program a few years ago.
The event welcomed more than 10 guests and highlighted accessibility areas that are sometimes overlooked in communities. It also gave students an opportunity to share their thoughts and ask questions about disability and accessibility.
“After starting at Humber in 2017, I had my amputation that following summer and I turned to peer support with the Coalition to help me cope with these new changes. Inviting Todd to campus was a great way to launch our first event and was a very supportive discussion for our guests,” says Jackson.
The club members add there are more people on campus who live with disabilities than it may appear and they hope to continue to grow their club in the Fall. The members say it is comforting to meet with students who understand their daily stresses and Without Limits helps students share their thoughts in a safe environment where discussions are encouraged.
“We want students to be comfortable standing up for themselves and remember they have a right to be accommodated. Sometimes those with disabilities have this stereotype about themselves that they don’t have a right to voice their opinion and that their needs may seem more like wants to others. Hearing our stories and seeing it is ok to advocate for yourself is what this club is all about and we are here to be supportive,” says Patterson.
From improving ramps to access buildings on campus to ensuring seating is accommodating to all at campus events, the club hopes their voice along with the support from IGNITE will help to improve campus experience for all.
The club will be hosting new events in Fall 2019. For more information and resources, visit the Without Limits blog.