ASUC Senator Zach Carter integrates disability resources into CalCentral

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The office of ASUC Senator Zach Carter announced Monday that the office integrated links to the Disabled StudentsProgram, or DSP, website home page and the DSP online service system, known as SCARAB, directly into the CalCentral homepage.

Carter made integrating DSP resources into CalCentral a significant part of his senate campaign platform. According to campus Student Information Systems, or SIS, Service Design Director Ben Hubbard, Carter reached out in mid-July to ask about including the links in CalCentral.

“I was motivated to work on this issue because, as a DSP student myself, I had a terrible time trying to enroll in the program and gain access to the resources myself,” Carter said in an email. “I genuinely did not know where to look.”

Hubbard said in an email that SIS works closely with stakeholders, service partners and users to update campus systems. Before Carter’s request, SIS had not been asked to add DSP links to the CalCentral homepage, according to Hubbard.

Executive Director of the DSP Karen Nielson said Carter reached out to her with his idea in May, soon after he was elected.

“I’m really excited Zach was able to move it forwards” Nielson said. “I gave my blessing, but he made it happen.”

Both Hubbard and Nielson commented on the willingness and cooperativeness of the ASUC to work on this issue. Nielson remarked how she was thankful for the student government’s partnership and according to Hubbard, the ASUC filed the request, reviewed designs and shared input on the release date for the link integration.

“The process was very smooth and took about three months from the time of the original request,” Hubbard said in an email.

Campus graduate student Morgan Vien said that adding the links to CalCentral is a good idea, but suggested promoting the links because many students do not use CalCentral beyond checking financial aid and enrolling in classes.

Before the CalCentral update, the DSP was already working on ways to increase awareness on campus. After the DSP promoted resources at student orientation and other new-student events, the number of students involved in the program skyrocketed. According to Nielson, two years ago, the DSP included 1,900 students. Now the program has 2,700 students, and Nielson expects to reach 3,000 students by the end of the year.

“I hope that students will continue to find it easy to connect with us and will continue to raise visibility on campus,” Nielson said.

Carter’s office worked with External Affairs Vice President Nuha Khalfay to communicate with SIS.

“I hope that my updates will make the program easy to enroll in for students for years to come,” Carter said in an email. “It’s difficult enough being a disabled student at Cal and enrolling in the program and accessing resources shouldn’t be a hurdle.”

Contact Ronit Sholkoff at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @RonitSholkoff.