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Diversity Grant Helps Bentley Put a New Face on Accessible Parking Spaces for Individuals with Disabilities
The Accessible Icon Project was recently launched on the Bentley University campus in an effort to put a new face on accessible parking spaces for individuals with disabilities. With support from the university’s Diversity Mini-Grant program, Jessica Low is transforming the International Symbol of Access from a passive stick figure into an active, engaged image. Low is presenting to the Waltham Disabilities Services Commission in May as they look to adopt the Accessible Icon citywide.
“The symbol represents the opportunity for a deeper discussion around issues related to dispelling myths about individuals with disabilities and focusing on their independence and forward motion of their abilities.” says Low, a 2004 Bentley alumna and graduate intern in Disability Services and Undergraduate Career Services. “My hope is that by updating a seemingly innocuous symbol, conversations will be sparked that force people to compare the old icon to the new icon and explore their own views on how society views individuals with disabilities.”
The project includes repainting all handicap parking spots on campus with the Accessible Icon to demonstrate the independence and abilities of individuals who use wheelchairs.
Low became familiar with the Accessible Icon Project while working at Triangle, Inc., a nonprofit agency in Greater Boston dedicated to supporting individuals with disabilities lead independent lives. The Bentley project is a team effort that includes Stephanie Brodeur, assistant director of disability services; Brenda Hawks, director of counseling and development; Ryan Gaffey, manager of landscaping and grounds; Tom Kane, director of facilities management; Ernie Leffler, Bentley police chief and executive director of public and environmental safety; Katie Lampley, associate program director, Office of Special Assistant to the President; Bentley alumnus Alan Chaulet; and members of Delta Alpha Pi.
“Given Bentley’s commitment to diversity and disability awareness, I feel the AIP would reach not only the Bentley staff, faculty, and student population on campus, but any visitor: prospective students, corporate partners, community partners and more.”
Parking spaces in Lot 1 and Lot 10 have been updated with plans to update remaining spots throughout campus this summer.
U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.