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thinking about access at bryn mawr

caelinfoley's picture

since we've been doing access work for the exhibition, i've been thinking a lot about daily access at Bryn Mawr. while not everything can be universally accessible, there are a lot of aspects of life that could easily be made accessible, but are currently not. a big example of this is new dorm dining hall, which is known for its rotation of cultural foods throughout the year. yet, there is a huge accessibility issue - while the dining hall itself is relatively roomy and easy to navigate, the food is served in two rows back to back with no access to the other side. there is a glass window at about standing shoulder-level, which means to get to the food in the second row, you must be able to bend and stretch relatively far to reach the utensil to grab the food. it also is a contamination issue, as it means that food in the second row is prone to dropping into the first row when people are serving themselves. this creates an accessibility issue in two manners - people who use mobility aids, especially wheelchairs, will either struggle to reach the second row of food or be unable to completely, limiting their food options and making them dependent on others when they may not want to be - and an issue of contamination, which could endanger people with allergies in the student community, and therefore, make them unable to eat at new dorm dining hall. if i was to suggest a way to make new dorm accessible, i would change the format of the food to be either singular row or allow access to the second row to better accommodate students. just something i've been thinking about recently with the access work & thought some of you might have also noticed!