Four University of Michigan students studying biomedical engineering. All of them from Troy, Michigan and all of them able-bodied.
The students – Abhinav Appukutty, Phillip Yang, Sawan Dutta and Trey Lundmark – had an eye-opening experience earlier this year after undertaking a project to explore how accessible the Ann Arbor campus really was for people with physical disabilities.
Abhinav Appukutty, Phillip Yang, Sawan Dutta, and Trey Lundmark are University of Michigan students. They are all from Troy, Michigan, they all study biomedical engineering, and they are all able-bodied.
The group had an eye-opening experience earlier this year after undertaking a project to explore how accessible – or inaccessible – campus can be for people with physical disabilities.
Appukutty, a senior with aspirations of attending medical school, said he learned a lot about disability studies during an English class taught by disability advocate and associate professor Melanie Yergeau.
“After learning in class about various problems with the lack of accessibility for many disabled and non-disabled people, our group wanted to investigate the issue on campus. Specifically, we looked through the lens of physical disability,” he said.
“We felt the best way to share our findings was through an online video, since it can reach many people very quickly.”
The main goals of the video are to provide a glimpse of the obstacles that the physically disabled face on campus and to spread awareness about inaccessibility to everyone at the University of Michigan. The group also wants to encourage others to advocate for accessible accommodations as they continue on with their missions for a more inclusive environment.
The short video takes viewers to high-traffic areas of campus and shows how much longer it takes for physically disabled people to access buildings versus people with no physical barriers.
“We hope that for many students, this video will provide awareness and knowledge about an important topic that is often poorly understood,” Appukutty added.
The students involved in the project said that in addition to guidance from their professor, Anna Schnitzer, coordinator for the U-M Council for Disability, was instrumental in helping them understand the struggles that disabled people face on campus.
Said Schnitzer: “I think the video is very well done and very revealing about certain accessibility issues on our campus. This is a wonderful team and a marvelous video — accessibility for everyone is just what we all need to be reminded of.”