Sunday, July 21, 2024

Know your campus: Accessibility Resources

By Hayden Sadler


The Accessibility Resources Office will be moved to a new location next spring. With recent increases in funding to SUNY colleges focused on improving student accessibility the ARO will not only be able to move locations, but also to initiate new projects. This would come shortly after the school’s recent development of the Wellness Zone in Feinberg Library. Additionally, the ARO held a Q&A session following Indigenous People’s Day break.

ARO Director Jennifer Curry works to ensure students receive the support they need in addition to making sure the school follows state requirements for accessibility and follows a 504 plan, which grants students with specific education needs the right to accommodations. Curry also assists students with finding housing accommodations, for which she works closely with the Campus Housing and Community Living department. 

The ARO recently installed the Zen Den in Hood Hall, a space that, much like the Sensory Friendly Zone in Feinberg, allows students to relax in a quiet and peaceful environment.

SUNY receiving student assistance funding will greatly assist the ARO. Cardinal Points previously reported that the Cardinal Cupboard’s funding increased thanks to a similar initiative. ARO was another group that received money for expansion. Curry mentioned that this funding allows the office to “support students in ways we couldn’t before.” 

Currently, the ARO office is located in Macomb Hall. New funding is allowing the ARO to move to Feinberg library and the office will be positioned even closer to the Wellness Zone.

The Q&A held on Wednesday, Oct. 11, offered students a chance to learn more about the ARO as well as what it can offer to them. The ARO presented students with ways in which they can register or reach out to receive personalized learning and living accommodations.

Important to the Q&A was introducing students to the sign-up process. Students who need assistance can either email ARO directly, and they typically reply within 24 hours, or they can go to their Plattsburgh Banner portal and click on the “accommodate” button.  

The ARO is available to students who require additional assistance in their education. Accommodations offered include on and off-campus housing changes, allowing students to have support animals, extended time on tests and relocated testing areas for exams. The ARO also finds accommodations with students who may need notes taken, or even something to fidget with to help them pay attention.

Increased funding allows not only more accommodations to be made, including more ARO staff which in turn could assist more students in finding a secure learning environment

“Accommodations are case by case, each student has their own unique needs,” Curry said. With additional staff, Curry mentioned the addition of an academic coach in the ARO, which could aid students with academics. 

The ARO is one of many resources available on campus that allows students to find comfort while at school, but also helps to prepare students for success. Students can find accommodations that assist them in note taking, deadline extensions, housing accommodations and many other things that help ensure their learning needs are met.

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