DRD to implement campus “walking tours” before Summer and Fall semesters

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Courtesy Michael Combs

SRJC’s Emeritus Circle construction projects include newly installed sidewalks, curbs and driveways.

Liam Vinueza, Editor

Santa Rosa Junior College’s Disability Resources Department plans to host campus tours to help disabled students navigate the campus before the Summer and Fall semesters, according to DRD Dean Kim Starke.  

The tours come in light of the ongoing construction around the Santa Rosa and Petaluma campuses. 

“You can have a very independent life, and still get completely lost on campus right now, based on the different construction projects,” Starke said. 

DRD plans to have a “hands on experience” to help get disabled students acquainted with what has changed on campus. 

According to Starke, although many disabled students have chosen to remain in a remote learning environment, several low vision and blind students still attend class on campus and have been impacted by construction projects, even with mobility assistance.

Starke said DRD hopes to mitigate some of the confusion by adding personalized “walking” tours students can register for through the student portal. 

“[We] can have small enough groups, where we can really individualize what’s going to be best for a student,” Starke said.  “[Then they] will have a cognitive map of where they’re gonna park and where they need to go.”

Starke, a disabled student herself, said, “I have worked at the JC for years now and even when I look at a map, I really have to work hard at getting oriented.” 

Although students are having difficulty navigating the campus, Starke believes SRJC faculty has been “compassionate” with students arriving late to class. 

DRD has not received much feedback from students this semester on what they could change in the future for disabled students, according to Starke, and she encourages students to reach out to DRD to give feedback at this link.