Student strives to make U of R even more accessible

By Costa Maragos Posted: August 13, 2015 6:00 a.m.

(L-R) David Newman, President of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services, presents the Student Leadership award to the U of R’s John Loeppky
(L-R) David Newman, President of the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services, presents the Student Leadership award to the U of R’s John Loeppky (Photo courtesy of CACUSS).

John Loeppky says he’s always considered himself an “independent disabled person.”

Loeppky, who is studying English and Theatre, has received the Student Leadership Award from the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services at its annual convention in Vancouver.

“I was quite humbled actually,” says Loeppky. “It’s always amazing to get some recognition but to get it from somebody who I’ve known since I came to the university feels amazing.”

That person is Teri Phillips, Manager of the Centre for Student Accessibility at the U of R. Phillips nominated Loeppky for the award.

“When faced with barriers or challenges, John exemplifies the attitude of a leader by constructively and respectfully engaging with the appropriate campus partners to resolve the issues,” says Phillips. “He’s become not only a strong advocate for himself, he is also an advocate for disability and accessibility on our campus.”

Loeppky, who grew up in Martensville, Saskatchewan, has cerebral palsy.

“I’ve always grown up either being directly affected by the disability or being a sibling of a disabled person,” says Loeppky whose sister is autistic.

“That’s what always led me to see disability in action. I always wanted to make changes in that area. As I’ve matured through my university career there have been more opportunities to give back to the campus community.”

Aside from keeping up with his studies, Loeppky remains active in writing, theatre and sports.

John Loeppky
John Loeppky performing in a production put on by the U of R’s Devising Inclusive Theatre Class  (Photo courtesy of Brenda MacLauchlan)

He’s competed nationally as a member of Saskatchewan’s Wheelchair Rugby and Basketball teams. He’s performed on stage at U of R theatre productions (John reflects on his disability for a segment on CBC. Click here for the video) and he’s the sports editor of the Carillon Newspaper.  

He is also passionate about being an advocate for people with disabilities.  

“Coming to university can be an overwhelming experience. But it can be even more overwhelming for those of us with disabilities,” says Loeppky. “Our campus is inclusive but there are always things we can improve on.”

Loeppky is co-ordinator of the student-led Inclusion Initiative. It’s supported by the University of Regina, the U of R’s Sustainability and Community Engagement fund and the Regina Public Interest Research Group, a student-funded, student-run  group dedicated to community-based research, education, action and awareness in the public interest.

“What I saw for this initiative was not necessarily to fill the gaps but to help students on campus and to identify where there are areas for improvement and indeed where we’re doing really well,” says Loeppky.

Related Stories