Access Challenge at RIC, May 4

The Dana Wright Access Challenge, run by the RIC Advocacy and Beyond Club (ABC), aims to raise student and faculty awareness about experiences that individuals with disabilities face on campus.

The second annual Access Challenge event will be held on the campus quad on Wednesday, May 4, from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m, followed by a dinner and discussion from 5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. at Donovan Dining Hall in the Faculty Center. Participants must be available for the entire event.

Members of the Access Challenge will perform their normal daily activities, only they won't have full use of their bodies. Participants will use wheelchairs for the day, which will be lent to RIC by Vanguard Home Medical Equipment Company, and will then record their experiences by describing difficulties they faced in addition to positive experiences and public responses.

The Access Challenge allows students and faculty to experience the life of a college student with physical disabilities while exploring stereotypes and the social atmosphere, according to ABC. The event helps the RIC community create an inclusive and positive college culture that encourages self-determination instead of pity, added ABC.

This year, the Access Challenge will include “Visual Impairment” simulation stations, which will allow RIC students and faculty to try on goggles that will skew their vision. Participants will try to complete tasks including puzzles and other activities while wearing the goggles. In case of rain, the visual impairment stations will be relocated from the quad to the Student Union.

The Access Challenge will help to raise awareness about some of the things that individuals without disabilities take for granted, while also celebrating diversity, according to ABC.

ABC is a student-planned and student-funded organization for individuals with or without disabilities.

The mission of ABC is to “encourage, educate and empower” both students and faculty to advocate for individuals with disabilities at RIC and beyond. ABC seeks to support RIC's mission “to offer accessible higher education of the finest quality to traditional and non-traditional students.”

Advisors to ABC are Keri L. Rossi, special education recruitment coordinator at the Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities and Mark Gunning, assistant professor of special education.

The Access Challenge was developed in 2004 by the late Dana Wright, RIC Alumna and a founding member of ABC. Wright coordinated the Access Challenge at RIC and at Providence College. ABC has continued the Access Challenge for the last two years to honor Wright's memory and keep her vision alive.

Registration forms and further information for the Access Challenge may be found on the ABC website at Completed forms must be submitted by Sunday, May 1, to ABC president Arthur Parise at, or may be dropped off at the Welcome and Information Desk in the Student Union. For further information, contact Keri Rossi at