Local flexible-double student Ben has insisted that “everything is absolutely fine” while making his way from his 11am macroeconomics tutorial to his 12pm Biology lab in his wheelchair. With the AD Hope building elevator out of action and Melville Hall stairs too crowded to approach, Ben takes the long way around the front of the BPB carpark and Centre of Arab and Islamic Studies. He then propels himself along the university’s once peaceful path adjacent to Fellow’s Oval and the Chifley Library, dodging fast and slow walkers alike by swerving on and off the grass.
“I really don’t mind, I love a bit of extra cardio”, Ben insists, wiping the sweat from his forehead. Ben must then ease his way down to the campus’s most narrow bridge and back up the gradual slope to the JCoS side of campus. Hours later, Ben will make his way back along this path to his home in Lena Karmel Lodge, a mere 1.2 kilometres away.
“I know the Disabilities Student Association like to make it seem like there are accessibility issues in the pop up, but I like to think of it more as a challenge, or a game”, Ben told Woroni enthusiastically, “the added adrenaline of whether I will make it to class, and how I’m going to get there, really adds to my workout”.
The Kambri site is due to be completed in late 2019, meaning Ben will likely graduate before he is able to enjoy a flat, open space on campus again, but – just in case it wasn’t clear – he insists that it’s “totally fine” by him.