Calvin to update accessibility signs around campus

Photo courtesy student senate
Photo courtesy student senate

Over the next few months, the familiar handicap-accessible logo around campus will receive a facelift. The old logo, depicting a person in a wheelchair, will be replaced with a more active design.

Student senate is a big part of this push for the new logos.

Student senator Jonathan Manni explained: “Student senate, in coordination with the Campus Accessibility Advisory Committee (CAAC) and Mark Stephenson from the Christian Reformed Church Disabilities Office, is replacing all accessibility parking signage on campus. We are using new signs with the new accessible logo found at accessibleicon.org.”

This website is part of The Accessible Icon Project, a nationwide movement to “transform the old International Symbol of Access into an active, engaged image.”

The Calvin Seminary parking lot already features the new signs and, after months of discussion, the replacement process is set to begin. Physical Plant is helping by training student senate on how to replace the signs.

Student senate sees the logo change as a matter of principle.

“We recognize that images and ideas influence the way others see people,” said Manni. “In the case of accessible signage, the new image places a focus on the individual as a person. The old icon exudes a vibe of passivity, which doesn’t do a great job representing individuals with disabilities. Additionally, we feel that the leaning-forward posture and motion explicit in the icon place an important focus on the individual.”

Terminology is another important part of the conversation, as student senate promotes the use of words like “accessible” or “accessibility signage” instead of “handicapped,” which can be seen as negative.

All in all, student senate sees this project as part of a larger goal to make campus hospitable for the entire Calvin community.

“In order to best represent students, we believe that every student should feel valued,” said Manni. “Through this project and others, we try our hardest to better the perspectives that we as students have about each other.”

About the Author

Daniel Paulson

Daniel Paulson is a Chimes writer for the 2013-14 school year.

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