For RMIT, accessibility for staff and students with disability isn’t just part of an inclusion checklist: it is a priority.
RMIT University has six Changing Places facilities across its three campuses. This makes RMIT the leading university in Australia when it comes to number of Changing Places facilities.
Chris Hewison, Executive Director Property Services and Chief Procurement Officer at RMIT, explains that as universities are such a visible and integral part of our local communities, it’s important that every member of the community in which they operate feel welcome and supported.
“It’s important for tertiary education providers to have Changing Places to meet the needs of our diverse community, so that staff and students have the best possible chance to succeed in work and study.
“As part of our commitment to inclusion at RMIT, these [Changing Places] facilities provide practical ways that staff, students, and visitors with disability can go about their daily activities with dignity and convenience – just like any other member of the community,” explains Chris.
The theme of Changing Places helping to provide a welcoming atmosphere is echoed by students.
“It [Changing Places] supports me to feel I can participate fully by having places nearby that I can use for my comfort,” says a student who chose to remain anonymous.
Lara Rafferty, Associate Director Equity & Inclusion at RMIT champions the importance of an inclusive built environment as part of her role.
“Providing inclusive and accessible facilities on campus is just one of the ways that we say ‘welcome’ to the diverse members of our student and staff community.
“This year, we will be developing our next five-year Accessibility Action Plan to set out actions to improve the staff and student experience, including further improvements to our campus facilities.
“We also have a group of passionate champions in the RMIT Accessibility Working Group who meet throughout the year to celebrate our success and identify and resolve our challenges.
“The group also commits to long-term plans for improvement to ensure RMIT continues to be a fantastic and inclusive place to study and work.”
RMIT is an example of the positive change you can make to peoples’ lives by going beyond the minimum set by building standards, and creating new environments that are truly inclusive by design. This is just one example that highlights why the University has been a top performer in the Australian Network on Disability Access and Inclusion Index for people with disability in the last few years.
Out of the 43 universities in Australia, only four have registered Changing Places facilities at their campuses. If you are a student at one of the 39 other universities without a Changing Places facility, be sure to reach out to your Diversity and Inclusion teams and help make your campus a more inclusive and welcoming space.
As Chris Hewison said, everyone should have the best chance possible to succeed at work and study. A Changing Places facility is one of the ways you can help make that happen.