Brock students finalists in Innovative Designs for Accessibility competition

Four Brock University students are among the finalists in a provincial contest that focuses on removing barriers for people with disabilities.

Shannon Misketis, Mackenzie Danen, Chris Bar and Kyle Boham have pitched an idea for a workshop that teaches Grade 3 students what life is like for friends and family in a wheelchair. They’re one of nine teams in the Council of Ontario Universities‘ (COU) annual Innovative Designs for Accessibility (IDeA) student competition.

“Ontario’s goal is to create an environment that is accessible to everyone, and Ontario universities are supporting students so that they can succeed and contribute strongly to the future of our province,” says Max Blouw, COU chair and president of Wilfrid Laurier University.

The finalists from seven Ontario universities will showcase their inventions at the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Discovery Conference May 12-13 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, South Building. Winners will be announced May 13 at 2:15 p.m.

Other finalists include a wristband that vibrates for people with visual disabilities to signal when friends are nearby, a portable toilet that expands to be big enough for wheelchairs, and a mapping system that rates the accessibility of each campus path.

“Universities recognize the value in encouraging students to think about barriers faced by people with disabilities,” says Bonnie M. Patterson, COU president and CEO. “It is our wish that Ontario graduates will take that awareness into the world and break down barriers whenever they see them.”

The winner and two runners-up will receive prizes of $1,500, $1,000 and $500 respectively. A bonus prize of $1,500 will be awarded to the IDeA that best addresses a barrier in para-sport and active living.

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