A new, fully accessible vehicle introduced at Trent University in Peterborough is a Canadian first, providing full access to campus facilities for students with disabilities, and affirming Trent as a leader in accessibility and student wellness.
This fall, Trent became the first university in Canada to introduce the state-of-the-art MV-1 accessibility vehicle on campus to meet the diverse accessibility needs of students, faculty and staff. The world’s first factory-built wheelchair-accessible vehicle that meets the unique physical needs of those with mobility and other disability issues, Trent’s MV-1 will be used to transport those in the Trent community with disabilities from the east to west bank of the Symons Campus and downtown to Traill College.
“The use of this vehicle at Trent highlights the University’s commitment to accessibility and wellness, as well as student success and satisfaction,” said Dr. Steven Franklin, president and vice-chancellor at Trent University. “Trent prides itself on our leadership in accessibility. The introduction of the MV-1 sends the message that Trent recognizes and respects the diverse contributions and needs of members of its community.”
Speaking of the impact of the new vehicle on the student community at Trent, second-year student Clarissa Ruekwart, who is also the disability commissioner with the Trent Central Students Association (TCSA), said: “The MV-1 is going to change everything for students on campus with accessibility issues. They will not have to struggle to get back and forth from place to place on campus. This will also even the playing field, allowing all students to get around on campus with ease. The vehicle creates new opportunities, not just for the students, but for Trent as a whole to learn more about the importance of accessibility, which has been a large issue to tackle.”
The introduction of the MV-1 vehicle to Trent came as the result of a University-wide accessibility audit, completed in the fall of 2012. One priority identified in the audit was transportation, in relation to the expansive nature of Trent’s campus and both the physical distance, as well as challenging terrain, between buildings and services. These factors within the built environment on campus pose challenges for students, staff and faculty with a range of disabilities. With its capacity for three wheelchairs and multiple passengers, the MV-1 was seen as an ideal transportation solution allowing for easy transport of members of the Trent community around and between campuses as necessary.
Use of Trent’s MV-1 is open to all Trent students, faculty, and staff, as well as visitors to Trent’s campuses. The service can be booked online at www.trentu.ca/mv1 up to 72 hours in advance.
“Trent is interested in increasing awareness of the presence and operation of the MV-1 for all members of the Trent community in hopes that all those who would benefit from its use will be able to take advantage of this unique and exciting service,” said Robyne Hanley, coordinator of human rights, equity and accessibility in the Office of Human Rights at Trent. “Additionally, Trent hopes to communicate about the MV-1 vehicle to prospective students in order to send the message that students with disabilities are welcomed and integrated into Trent’s campus and community.”
Bringing the MV-1 to Trent was a joint venture between several departments, including Student Accessibility Services and the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility (OHREA). Ms. Hanley prepared the successful proposal for funding of the vehicle through the EnAbling Change grant program of the HRSDC. Trent University provided additional funds for the purchase and operation of the vehicle, including support from alumni and donors through the Annual Fund.
Speaking on the vehicle’s first introduction to a university setting, president of MV-1 Canada Peter Grande said: “The MV-1 will assist Trent University in building a cohesive community and ensure that all students, faculty and guests have equal access to transportation while on campus. MV-1 Canada is very proud of Trent’s purchase of the MV-1. It serves as a great example for other universities and businesses to follow, stressing the importance of an inclusive society.”
About the MV-1
The MV-1 is the first factory-built mobility vehicle designed from the ramp up to provide accessible transportation to commercial fleets, institutions, municipalities and individuals with physical challenges. Built in the United States, the MV-1 is universally designed, allowing people of all abilities equal access to a quality, safe and inclusive transportation option. It meets and exceeds all AODA and D-409 Canadian Safety Standards requirements, making it the market leader in its category. It features an easy to deploy in floor access ramp, a spacious entryway, and a large interior that accommodates a wheelchair and four passengers comfortably.