UBC Disabilities United Collective to open a disability empowerment store

The UBC Disabilities United Collective (DUC) announced on July 24 their plan to open a disability empowerment store for students on campus.

“Our aim is just to increase accessibility on campus, as well as provide a safe and empowering space for disabled students by providing financial, emotional and practical support,” said Jessie Song, DUC co-president.

“The disability empowerment store [will be] a free and confidential service that [will] provide disability affirming items to our community.”

Their plan is to open the store in the upcoming semester in the resource group area of the Nest, though no date has been announced. The store is currently in the planning stage, with the group seeking input from community members on what items should be included, along with other recommendations.

"The most popular items we heard from people were noise cancelling headphones, fidget toys, weighted blankets and fidget jewellery,” Song said.

She also mentioned including personal hygiene and fitness products like resistance bands and foam rollers.

The DUC also envisions the store as a resource for those looking to learn more about disabilities and inclusivity.

“We are looking into books on the topics of visibility and self advocacy,” said Song.

“I think our store is needs-based. You don't have to identify as being disabled as long as you tell us you need those items or any kind of support. We're happy to provide that."

Song cited two other on campus resources as inspiration for the disability empowerment store — the UBC Gender Empowerment Store and the sensory room in the Nest.

“We know those initiatives were super successful, so we really want to do the same with the disabled community here,” said Song.

“We believe the items will support the overall health and wellbeing as well as the community and cohesion of disabled students at UBC.”