A Denison University education means more than diving into a rigorous academic lifestyle. It also includes becoming active in the world around us and typically participating in many meaningful campus activities or clubs. Rachael Barrett ‘17 has taken her own strides to expand the clubs here on campus.
Barrett is a history and international studies double major and French minor from Downers Grove, Illinois.In the Spring of 2016, she founded the Disability Awareness Activism Club (DAAC) here at Denison.
“I have mild cerebral palsy and I noticed during my freshman year that there was no identity-based group on campus for disabled students,” explained Barrett, now president of DAAC. The idea of starting her own club remained in the back of her mind until she finally was able to register DAAC through CLIC with the help of Julia McDaniel ‘16 and Jessica McFadden ‘18.
DAAC is an organization dedicated to providing support for disabled students. Members meet every Wednesday at 7 p.m. in Burton Morgan 216 where they talk about raising awareness for disability-related issues and helping improve handicap access on campus.
“Our main goal is to expand awareness of disability issues on campus, which we do by spreading the word about the club and encouraging people to attend the meetings,” said Barrett. One of her goals for the club is to receive money from DGCA with the hopes of spreading club awareness with decals and bracelets.
“We are going to resubmit a proposal that Julia McDaniel submitted in 2014 to use DCGA reserve funds to improve accessibility on campus,” said Barrett. She explained that the money would be put toward projects like buying more wheelchair-accessible vans, renovating elevators to make them ADA compliant and buildinging ramps for residence halls. Barrett added, “We are also trying to expand the campus shuttle service to make it more readily available to students with permanent mobility impairments and temporary injuries alike.”
The Denison community is benefiting from this club in many ways and students are encouraged to not be shy about coming to the meetings. “Before this club, there was no space on campus to discuss issues pertaining to disability. Now, there is one,” explained Barrett. “My fellow members and I are working to expand this sphere of discussion to reach an even greater range of people.”
Anyone who is interested in or passionate about this cause is welcome and encouraged to attend DAAC meetings.
Photo Courtesy of Amelia Hitchens/The Denisonian