Inclusive Recreation Committee works to make athletics accessible


Editor’s Note: This article is part one in a series on the Inclusive Recreation Committee and the projects it has led.

In keeping with the campus’s legacy as a home of the disability rights movement, the Inclusive Recreation Committee was formed at UC Berkeley in 2019 to improve accessibility and give students with disabilities a say in the program structure of the campus recreational sports department.

Established as a collaboration between Inclusive Recreation staff and ASUC’s Disabled Students Commission, the committee aims to ensure that the Recreational Sports Facility, or RSF, is aimed at students with disabilities as well as able-bodied students, according to Carlos Vázquez, committee member, co-chair of the ASUC disabled students commission and member of the disabled community.

“When we think of a gym, we tend to see people who can walk or who can control themselves and talk and all the other people with different abilities downstairs, we tend to forget about them,” Vázquez said. . “While we are not equal, we deserve to have our needs and goals met in the gym as well.”

While RSF offers a variety of accessible facilities and programs, the committee chose to focus on the No Limits Health and Fitness program, which provided students with disabilities with free specialized training from a knowledgeable instructor, according to committee member Josh Lavine and of ASUC. Commission for disabled students.

Initially, No Limits was funded in 2016 by the Student Welfare Fee, a $ 146 semester fee ratified in the 2015 ASUC general election, according to the Wellness Fund website. The program aimed to meet the fitness needs of students with ADHD, PTSD, psychological disabilities and mobility impairments.

For a while, the program impacted many, including Lavine, who was grateful for both the personalized training and the affordability of the program.

“For me that was essential because one of my disabilities is chronic pain and also psychological disabilities, and these are dynamic with each other,” Lavine said. “If they are poorly managed, they can really get exacerbated. “

No Limits funding ran out in May 2019 and in the meantime, the Fitness and Wellness Opportunities Fund would subsidize a paid Rec Sports program or activity under $ 100 for all students, says. the Rec Sports website. Some fee offsets are available for personalized training, which exceeds $ 100, funds permitting.

The Inclusive Rec Committee, however, was looking for a specialized long-term training program specifically tailored to students with disabilities. So far, the Wellness Fee Committee has provided funding for the Accessible Wellness and Empowerment program, which provides free specialized training to the disabled community in the short term, according to the Rec Sports website.

In line with its mission to advocate for the disability community, the Inclusive Recreation Committee created a survey to determine how RSF’s structure and accessibility could be improved, Vázquez said.

The poll, however, was forwarded to another campus group for review and distribution, Lavine noted. Although the campus disability program currently serves more than 3,700 students, it received only about 50 responses.

“The group that assisted us with the survey felt that we had not reached a statistically significant number of respondents and therefore had very limited access to the survey results for, apparently, concerns about confidentiality. “said Lavine.

Disappointed with the results, the committee decided to shift gears and focus on programs that can be implemented after the pandemic, Lavine added.

One of their goals for the coming semester, said Vázquez, is to recruit more members and formalize the roles of the committee so that the committee can hold itself accountable and accomplish more as a whole.

Contact Veronica Roseborough at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @v_roseborough.


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