ACES looks to make changes


Submitted to the Simpsonian

Founding members of ACES Mollie Hinkle, Tempest Allred, Kenneth Norris, and Allie Tubbs. Some founders are no pictured.

by Ariel Clark, Staff Reporter

Advocacy, Community, Education and Support (ACES) is a group that focuses on educating people about accessibility on campus.

The group was founded by a handful of students and Karen Lynch, director of Student Accessibility Services. Anyone is allowed to attend regardless of if they have a documented disability. Students can share as much or as little as they are comfortable with and members are not required to attend a set number of meetings. 

Kenneth Norris is one of the students who make up the founding members of ACES. He loves the “comfy little space” that the group provides. Norris joined due to their belief in the importance of advocacy and “getting the word out there that things need to change.”

Currently, he is helping the group with the creation of an ableism presentation that will be shown to Foundations 2 classes. Their goal is to help make Simpson a better place. Norris hopes potential members will reach out and ask questions. 

Even students who are anxious about going up to large groups or presenting are welcome to come to a meeting and give their opinion and thoughts on a matter. ACES members are willing to support and assist each other in these matters. More extroverted participants are more than happy to help advocate others’ ideas in places, making everyone equally important to the conversation even if they don’t directly go out and talk to board committees.

Lynch is glad to have found students willing to help make a change on campus. She had noticed many students coming in for accessibility options thinking that they were the only ones in the entire campus needing services. “I really wanted people to understand that they were not the only ones on campus and create a community around that,” said Lynch. So she reached out to several students and formed a coalition of people that she knew would be able to advocate for themselves as well as for others. The group has recently submitted their constitution and are welcoming anyone and everyone to join. 

Those looking to help make changes in aspects of Simpson’s facilities are encouraged to join, as the group has already accomplished various things around campus. From getting handicap door buttons for the first floor of Mary Berry, to discussing with the Food Advisory Council on allergens and other concerns, students have helped make direct and indirect impacts on campus. ACES meets on Thursdays from 5:15 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. in Holy Grounds.