Daniel Andersen


My experience at BYU has been one of a variety of emotions.  Transitioning from life in Missouri to school at BYU was hard. I had no idea what I needed to be successful. We looked to the accessibility center for help. They were helpful to an extent. They provided materials on how to get academic accommodations, but we looked to them for more resources about how to get set up for life in Utah. Unfortunately, that was not their area of expertise. BYU has been a lovely place to learn and meet people, however BYU and Utah in general is a very hard place to live when you have a serious disability. I don't believe that any of this is malicious, but I do believe we can make it better. 


My recommendations consist of expanding the resources that the UAC provides. It would be amazing if they were a one stop shop for resources. I would have loved to be pointed in the direction of government and nonprofit organizations that could help me set up to be independent. However, we were just forced to figure it out on our own. I also recommend having a look at how we at BYU discuss disability issues. These issues are far more than talking about anxiety or wheelchairs. We must be changing the reaction that students have to people with disabilities by exposing them to our world more often. Not just one week a year. We also need to change the mindset of faculty from a  "What does policy allow me to do?" mindset to a "How can I help?" mindset. The student body and particularly those with disabilities just want to know that you want to help regardless of whether or not it fits in the bounds of policy. Lets be honest, many of the unique needs of students with disabilities weren't thought of when policy was written or covers a topic that is outside of current policy all together. Let's be promoting faculty to going above and beyond and taking time to think out appropriate exceptions to the rules. When that mindset shift happens, we will see a much more fulfilled student body and a much less frustrating process with faculty.