Jan. 23, 2023

Student group champions accessibility pilot project in lecture halls

Courtesy seating stickers on seats in science lecture halls will prioritize seating for students with mobility concerns.
Courtesy Seating Sticker initiative - image of courtesy seating sticker
Courtesy seating stickers can now be found on some seats in science lecture halls. They prioritize seating for students with mobility concerns.

Courtesy seating stickers are a common sight in Calgary. You see them on public seating meant for those who may have a greater need than others, like the elderly, pregnant women or individuals with disabilities. We see them on the bus, the C-train and in our parks. Unfortunately in some settings like classrooms at UCalgary, we don't find them at all. Isn’t it time for a change? The Undergraduate Biological Sciences Equity sub-committee (UBSEC) sure thinks so. A new pilot project by UBSEC, in collaboration with Enrolment Services and Student Accessibility Services aims to address this concern.

Students don’t all have the same needs. Steps may be a challenge. Walking into the middle of a row or even sitting in a middle seat may be painful. Back rows may not provide adequate visibility. The list of reasons why some students need adjustable, front row and/or end of row seats is long. When UBSEC was first formed in 2021, equitable seating in classrooms was a priority. They quickly discovered that many of our large lecture theatres have very few adjustable seats, and those that exist can be hard to get to. The courtesy seating pilot project was designed to change that. This semester, you might notice some seats have a courtesy sticker. It’s easy: if you don’t need to use that seat, please leave the seat free for others who do. If there’s no other free spot, feel free to use the seat, but be ready to give it up for someone who may need it more than you.

And remember, to expand this program to more lecture theatres, we need your help! Help us improve accessibility by completing a brief survey. Please send feedback via email to biosciedi@ucalgary.ca.