Meet Your: Disability Officer 2024 – Ethan Johnstone

Hi! I’m Ethan, your Disability Officer for 2024! I’m incredibly passionate about promoting queer and youth mental health and wellbeing, which is why I’m studying a Bachelor of Social Work.   

As a disabled person, I have first-hand experience of how frustrating it is to come up against accessibility barriers at QUT, and I knew that something really had to change, and soon. When the opportunity arose to be part of the SRC this year, I thought that it would be an incredible way to represent and uplift other disabled students, and work to make QUT more accessible.  Higher education has historically been inaccessible to disabled students, and while I can’t change that, I want to make it so that disabled students have the opportunity to fully access everything QUT has to offer.  Our voices and experiences are just as important as those of non-disabled students! 

This year I really want to make massive strides towards making QUT more accessible for students.  I’ve noticed through my studies and stories from other students that there are so many features of QUT’s campuses that are incredibly inaccessible.  Because I study Social Work, I’m based at Kelvin Grove which means that elevators, hills, and long flights of stairs are part of my daily commute.  Trying to find accessible routes through this campus can be incredibly challenging, especially if you’re new to QUT and don’t know where you can find shortcuts or accessible routes between classrooms.  

I’m also working with the amazing Disability Collective (Free to join! Amazing community!) to get a space for the Collective and disabled students to use to socialise, rest, and recover, like how we have a Queer room and a Women’s room on each campus.  This is a huge initiative that the Collective has been working towards for years now, and my main goal this year is to get a committed space up and running.  

I would also love to get AUSLAN classes up and running again!  Before I came to QUT, I had originally planned to become an AUSLAN interpreter and really appreciate how isolating it can be for d/Deaf students when their peers can’t sign.  

If you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat, please feel free to reach out to me at disability@qutguild.com

QUT Student Guild
QUT Student Guild
Articles: 24

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