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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Wind Chimes Initiative hits lag

Wind+chimes
Photo by Alexis Will
Wind chimes

A Student Senate project to make campus navigation easier for students with visual impairments is at a standstill.

The Wind Chimes Initiative passed through Student Senate in the fall 2014 semester to help students with visual impairments navigate by placing wind chimes at 10 locations around campus to be used as auditory cues. 

Following clearance from then-interim president Mark Hussey, the initiative has since garnered verbal agreements for free chime installation. Joseph Hood, political science senior and Student Senate finance chair, said Student Senate also received a donation of $500 as well as verbal agreements for donations to purchase the remaining chimes.

Hood said these verbal agreements for funding are contingent on certain plans for maintenance and other factors being addressed before the wind chimes are ordered. Hood said general transitional issues from last year have contributed to the delay in progress. 

Kaitlyn Kellermeyer, an international studies junior who lost her vision in 2014, brought the idea to Student Senate’s attention. Kellermeyer said the wind chimes have all been funded and accounted for, but the issues like student services relocating have taken precedence.

Kellermeyer approached Hood in the summer of 2014. Since then Hood has spearheaded the initiative in the Student Senate.

“The idea was to use wind chimes as points of orientation for students and visitors with visual impairments because the campus is so large and it’s so large and it’s so easy to get lost,” Kellermeyer said. “It’s a discreet and pleasant sound, and I found it very useful.”

Hood said progress is being made on implementing the plan, but it is slow going.

“The initiative is unfortunately not as far along as we anticipated it being at this point in the fall,” Hood said. “General issues that have slowed the process are the turnover in leadership that occurred in SGA in late spring. I am the only member still in SGA who worked on the project last year.”

Student Senate has confirmed an Adopt-a-Wind-Chime project, which would allow student organizations to provide for maintenance and upkeep of the chimes once they have been installed, said Hood.

SGA advocated for other campus improvements for the visually impaired, which have recently been put into place, including the truncated domes at the north end of military walk to allow students to distinguish the sidewalk from the street, Hood said. 

Hood said he feels passionately about implementing the Wind Chime Initiative because Kellermeyer is a close friend of his. 

“One conversation with Kaitlyn … that has always stood out to me was when she told me that, had she been completely blind before coming here, she probably would not have chosen to attend A&M,” Hood said. “The idea that students would miss out on the Aggie family and experience because there are aspects of our university that aren’t as accommodating as they could be is unacceptable when we can do things to improve the experience.”

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