On Tuesday, September 26, the Office of Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging hosted a 50th birthday party for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 changed accessibility throughout the nation. Upon its passing, discrimination based on ability was banned in all programs that receive federal assistance. The existence of Section 504 of the act is why universities have offices of accessibility services at all – and so, Alyssa Kontak, the coordinator of student accessibility services for Heidelberg, and Aaron Nelson, the director of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, are both excited to celebrate. Together, the two are arranging this celebration of inclusion across the country by bringing it to our own backyard.
Alyssa’s office offers a variety of ways to help students get the most out of their education and time at Heidelberg. Whether it's through the arrangement of housing accommodations, ensuring students get extra time on tests, informing Parkhurst Dining of students’ food allergens, or collaborating to find a new solution to a unique challenge, the Office of Student Accessibility Services makes all students feel welcome and supported here at the Berg.
The continuous improvement of campus accessibility, as well, is motivated by the same movement that resulted in the Rehabilitation Act. After 50 years of progress on Heidelberg’s campus and campuses across the country, there’s much to celebrate.
So, at noon on Tuesday the Rehabilitation Act’s birthday cake was set up in Hoernemann Refectory. Students got to celebrate with some cake and infographics about all of the benefits that the Act has created in its 50 years of existence. For more information about the Rehabilitation Act or Accessibility Services at Heidelberg, contact Alyssa Kontak at akontak [at] heidelberg.edu (akontak1[at]heidelberg[dot]edu) or (419) 448-2484.