Trent is the first University in Canada to acquire an MV-1 vehicle, which transports students, faculty, staff, and visitors with accessibility issues from the East to West Bank on Symons Campus, as well as Traill College downtown.
Robin Hanley, Coordinator of Human Rights, Equity, and Accessibility, asserted that the vehicle was designed around the most state-of-the-art wheelchair-accessible ramp.
The service will employ student drivers. Luckily, those students were not driving Thursday as the MV-1 pulled into the parking lot, completely missing the ribbon held out to ceremoniously unveil it’s arrival.
Ben McColl, the former Commissioner for Students with Disabilities, was issn attendance at the unveiling. He is now studying Critical Disabilities at York University.
When asked how Trent compares he commented that Trent is often not accessible, especially the Faryon Bridge in our icy winters, a point reiterated in Trent’s media release for the event.
The release acknowledges “… the expansive nature of Trent’s campus and both the physical distance, as well as challenging terrain, between buildings and services.”
McColl pointed out the MV-1 is a great improvement over York’s Van Go shuttle service.
He asserted that discretion is important in terms of not making the students feel alienated. York’s shuttle service once picked him up in a golf cart.
McColl wants to stress the important distinction between impairment and disability.
Disability is a socially constructed model. “There are no disabilities, only barriers.”
The TCSA’s current Students with Disabilities Commissioner Clarissa Rueckwart is the one who really pushed for this addition.
Rueckwart spoke about the opportunities the vehicle creates: “… for Trent as a whole to learn more about the importance of accessibility, which has been a large issue to tackle.”
She is in her second year at Trent and was co-commissioner in her first year. This year she is full commisioner and has quickly accomplished such an impressive improvement.
This project was proposed and accomplished within six months.
“It’s cool to see your dream come alive”, Rueckwart remarked, standing alongside the vehicle.
The MV-1 service can be booked online up to 72 hours in advance at www.trentu.ca/mv1.