One in five people in the United States has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Oregon State students with disabilities sometimes live life a little differently than the typical OSU student.

Individuals who use wheelchairs do not have access to all buildings and bathrooms, and they must schedule classes at least an hour apart because it takes more than the 10 minutes allotted to get to their next class.

To increase awareness about disabilities, The ASOSU Disabled Student Affairs Task Force is sponsoring Disability Awareness Week, which runs until Friday.

The majority of the work for this week has been done by Mariana Schatte, the Disabled Student Affairs Task Force Director, Clinton Downs, the ASOSU Projects Coordinator, Kristen Johnson, an ASOSU intern, and Matthew McClain, the ASOSU Executive Director of Task Forces and Services.

McClain has been working many weeks on this project. He says he works with "a dedicated committee in the sense that it is always working to increase awareness and accessibility for students with disabilities on the OSU campus."

The events of the week include yesterday's wheelchair tours around the campus, a free dinner, "Disapalooza," and a forum to discuss disability services.

There will also be a week-long disability information booth in the Memorial Union Quad.

"In the past, Disability Awareness Week has given students the opportunity to discover the difficulties of navigating campus when affected by certain disabilities, and this year should permit the same," said Executive Secretary Kristen Downey.

Tuesday, the wheelchair tour offered students a first hand view of what it is like to enter some of the buildings on campus while being in a wheel chair.

This gave a new perspective to everyone who participated.

By going on the tour, it was easy to see the importance of prioritizing university repairs to buildings by making them accessible to all.

It is also very easy for everyone to help on a daily basis. If students did simple things, such as moving a garbage can from in front of a door sensor, it could be immensely helpful to someone in a wheelchair.

The Disapalooza Feast is tonight in the Memorial Union from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets for the free dinner will be available at the information booth in the MU Quad or at Student Involvement.

This event is meant to show what it is like to live with a disability -- even if just for a short period of time.

With the information provided this week McClain hopes to show OSU students "that people with disabilities are still people" and display "the accomplishments of people with disabilities.

"Overall we are making people aware of the problems and doing our best to provide information on services the university provides for them."

At the campus level, they hope to not only achieve more access points, but signs labeling access points, bathrooms and parking places more visible.

For more information on the events associated with Disability Awareness Week at OSU, or to get involved, contact Matthew McClain at 737-6336.

Stacy Austin is a staff writer for The Daily Barometer. She can be reached at

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