Maccess is a peer support service that aims to build and maintain a campus that celebrates, advocates, and ensures inclusiveness of disability identities and experiences. We want to create a safe space for the disabled community. This year, we decided to focus on disability pride and inclusion, intersectionality, community building, and provide skill-developing/educational opportunities for those attending campaign sessions.
Two initiatives to highlight are our week-long campaigns:
- DisVisibility and History Week: A week of events with speakers, workshops, discussions, arts and crafts, and food to raise awareness about disability through historical and current lenses. We also launched two social media campaigns spreading awareness on the legal history and medical history of disability in Canada.
- Disability Pride Week: The goal of this initiative is to celebrate disability and be prideful of our community. We will also raise awareness about issues affecting disabled students at McMaster through a variety of events and educative posts.
Contributors: MSU Maccess
Push Back on Mac in McMaster’s Return to Campus Activities
Throughout the 2021– 2022 academic year, Push Back on Mac created a variety of resources and advocacy materials regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the mandatory return to campus. Our petition advocating for the continuation of remote learning options received over 1,100 signatures. Our policy brief highlighted the unsafe and inaccessible nature of McMaster’s pandemic response, and proposed an alternative framework grounded in principles of safety, accessibility, innovation, and interdependence.
On our social media pages, we shared the experiences of McMaster community members with the return to campus, as well as a series of graphs depicting the rates of COVID-19 on campus. A friend of Push Back on Mac also created a guide to elastomeric respirators, reusable alternatives to disposable masks which offer greater protection from COVID-19.
Although our work received little acknowledgement from the university administration, we hope it raised awareness of the exclusionary practices inherent in the return to campus, and helped McMaster community members feel less alone in their experiences.
Contributors: Push Back on Mac
Outliers: Teaching & Learning Beyond the Norms (magazine)
Over 2021-2022, the McMaster Disability Zine Team has curated a new zine, Outliers: Teaching & Learning Beyond the Norms, which aims to enrich debates and initiatives in student mental health. This 72-page issue amplifies the voices of over 25 Mad(ness)-identified, neurodivergent, and disabled student and alumni contributors from Canada (including 12 from McMaster), the United States, and Belgium. Titled Outliers, various meanings, and experiences of being an “outlier” in post-secondary education come alive in the zine through collage, drawing, painting, photography, poetry, song, and stories that call on post-secondary institutions and instructors to enhance accessibility, Mad Positivity, and respect for neurodiversity in teaching and learning. Two versions of the zine are freely available online, including a visually designed one and an accessible version with image descriptions.
Contributors: The McMaster Disability Zine Team, The MacPherson Institute