WCC celebrates a rich past and a bright future in accessibility

headshot of Emily Hinton
Emily Hinton, Access Center for Disability Resources Manager

This year, Waubonsee Community College is joining the rest of the country in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which was signed into law July 26, 1990. Our celebratory event – to take place later this month – will inspire us all to reflect on Waubonsee’s proud history of a commitment to accessibility and reaffirm our united, all-inclusive approach.

The ADA is a comprehensive civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. Waubonsee’s tradition of supporting people with disabilities dates back to even before the ADA was signed into law, when the college established the Waubonsee Hearing Impaired Program – or WHIP – during the 1973-74 school year. This program eventually transitioned into the Access Center for Disability Resources, which continues to operate.

During our celebration on the Sugar Grove Campus on Oct. 28, Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek will sign a proclamation affirming the college’s continued commitment to full ADA compliance. The event will be at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby of the Student Center on the Sugar Grove Campus, and the public is welcome to attend.

Even 25 years after the ADA was signed, its purpose always is at the front of our minds. We are committed to the notion accessibility is up to all of us, all of the time. To that end, Waubonsee offers a number of ways for faculty, staff and students to be part of the process of improving and maintaining accessibility. One good example is our student organization, Delta Sigma Omicron, which has more than 40 active members, including students with and without disabilities. The organization brings disability awareness and inclusion to the forefront on campus.

Waubonsee’s Access Center for Disability Resources offers support to students with disabilities, to help them to be successful in college-level classes. And the collegewide commitment to accessibility is evident in the work being done by the Accessibility Advisory Committee, a cross-functional committee that has been successful in identifying needs and making changes across campus. One example of their efforts was the addition of automatic door openers and the increased distribution of handicap-accessible parking near each building.

We know our work in ensuring full accessibility is never done. It is up to all of us to deliver on our duty and promise everyone can fully experience all Waubonsee has to offer. That is why I hope you will join our open celebration on campus this month. It is only through continued support, diligence and compassion that we can open doors to knowledge for all of those who seek to better themselves and our communities.