Hoping to Eliminate Barriers to Education, InclusiveU Goes to Washington, DC

On any given day, members of Congress and their staff can hold dozens of meetings with concerned citizens and interest groups looking to advocate on behalf of a particular issue.

Sometimes these citizens are seeking additional revenue for their cause. Other times, they want to educate and spread awareness.

If you took a survey of the congressional staffers who met recently with a delegation from Syracuse University’s InclusiveU program, chances are they would remember the energetic and charismatic Olivia Baist ’22, who recently earned a degree in studio arts from the College of Visual and Performing Arts.

Baist is a proud graduate of Syracuse University and its InclusiveU program, which thanks to an initiative from the Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education brings students of all ages with intellectual and developmental disabilities to campus to experience college life in a fully inclusive setting.

Baist and two of her InclusiveU colleagues—director Brianna Shults G’20 and Katie Ducett, an inclusive (special) education Ph.D. candidate in the School of Education—spent two days pushing for policy change to make higher education accessible for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities during a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

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