Let's face it, one feature of the most beautiful UW campus landscape can be challenging — the feature simply known as "the hill." It's probably no one's favorite aspect of navigating UW-Eau Claire, but for those students or other campus visitors with limited mobility, it can present a potentially insurmountable challenge.
A collaborative event hosted on campus Sunday, Aug. 4, called "The Climb," will support and celebrate folks with limited mobility, particularly those with missing or amputated limbs, and provide a family-friendly day dedicated to pushing against limits and celebrating success.
The Garfield Avenue mall and trek to upper campus provides a safe pedestrian-only location for amputees and non-amputees alike to get together and tackle an obstacle like the hill. The event will also give family and friends a chance to better appreciate the daily logistical challenges that our general landscape can pose for the amputee community and those with other mobility limitations.
Support for this event is provided on campus by University Recreation and Sport Operations, and by the office of Services for Students with Disabilities. The director of that office, Vicky Thomas, was pleased to have such a unique new opportunity to demonstrate the campus commitment to providing access and resources for students with limitations.
"I’m excited to see the innovative adaptive technology that amputees use to climb the challenging campus hill, and I hope that the event brings awareness of the determination and accomplishments of the amputees," Thomas said.
A recent UW-Eau Claire graduate, Pete Winslow, has missing limbs due to a congenital birth defect, and he knows very well the challenges posed by the campus hill and other physical barriers every day. Though he is unable to attend "The Climb," he is very happy to see campus hosting such an event.
"I think it's awesome. Anything that draws attention to mobility with a disability is good. Everyone should be aware of the challenges faced to live a normal college life. I'm glad UWEC looks at these situations and immediately steps up to help. I wish more places took action and were prepared for students with disabilities," he said.
- Event time: 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Participants will climb/ascend the hill first and return to the bottom to celebrate.
- Parking available in Hibbard parking lot.
- Bring any knee sleeves, crutches or devices of assistance.
- Wheelchair users are asked to bring a friend for any needed assistance up or down the hill.
- Raffle available to win benefits from Wiggle Your Toes, a prosthetics manufacturing business.
Other participating sponsors include AMPlifying WI & MN, a support group for area amputees, as well as Hanger Clinic and Ottobockus, organizations aimed at improving quality of life for amputees. Local water ski club the Eau Claire Ski Sprites is also supporting the event to raise awareness of the need for more adaptive technologies in the areas of recreation and water sports.
For more information about this first-time event, contact Jenna Jenneman at email@example.com or 715-379-1726.