Overcoming obstacles

Accessibility advice for University of Manitoba students

Photo by Carolyne Kroeker

University can be the best time of your life – or the worst. The key to making it the best time of your life is having the right knowledge and information to achieve goals and gain the experiences you want to have, and having some fun while doing so.

As a disabled student attending classes, there are many things that will come up throughout your campus journey that you may need some kind of help with tackling.

Student Accessibility Services, located on the main floor of University Centre across the hall from the Digital Copy Centre, is a great resource for everything you might need. From class accommodations to proctoring, note-taking, test-taking, and more, the folks at Student Accessibility Services will do whatever they can to help you succeed to your fullest potential.

For any questions you might have regarding student life on campus, housing concerns, community support, or if you just want to have a conversation, the University of Manitoba Students’ Union (UMSU) has a students living with disabilities representative. Their role is to help with whatever you feel you need help with and to bring those issues up to UMSU council members and executives in order to ensure those needs are addressed.

There is also a great relaxation spot designated for students with disabilities in room 187 in the basement of Helen Glass. Known as the “Safe Space” for those with disabilities, this recently renovated lounge is equipped with a couch, computer, television, fridge, coffee maker, and more. Here you can get your homework done, take a quick nap between classes, and even medicate with your medical marijuana, if you prefer.

The University of Manitoba has a very liberal stance on medical marijuana. If you are a legal patient who uses cannabis, then don’t worry, as the campus is friendly to prescribed users. The first official medical marijuana student group in Canadian history sparked up on this campus in 2013, which shows it is a relatively easy-going place for cannabis users.

Not to mention the great local places around campus to munch out at when you are in the mood.

If you are into the outdoors and fresh air, the campus has a plethora of chill outdoor spots along the river to relax, read a book, or chat with friends. Between the amazing scenery and architecture, it is a wonderful area to hang out and enjoy downtime between classes.

And finally, the Elizabeth Dafoe Library has an excellent disability reading room. It is private, quiet, and has a wheelchair-accessible computer. You may not think it now, but during your time as a student you will spend more time in a library than you ever thought you would. It is well worth it to spend your time there.

If you use this information and take advantage of all the opportunities offered to you on campus, then I am sure you will have the most entertaining, enjoyable, and thought-provoking time of your life.

Enjoy the next few years of your life, get that degree, and make the world a better place for you and those around you.



University of Manitoba alumnus Steven Stairs is the former UMSU students living with disabilities representative, as well as founder of the Medical Marijuana Student Association