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Pete’s story: I’ve been where you are

Celeste sits outside in his wheelchair, smiling

Celeste works with students to make sure they get the accommodations they need. (Purdue University photo/Rebecca McElhoe)

He used services at the DRC as a student. Now he’s an access consultant.

I work in Disability Resource Center as an access consultant. As a Purdue alum and a disabled person who worked closely with the center as an undergraduate, I have a unique perspective that drives my interactions with our students. Students are often hesitant to talk about specific physical and mental health conditions, but I have found that when I share my own experience with students, it goes a long way in building rapport.

Establishing a trusting relationship with students is vital for creating a space for them to feel comfortable sharing the narrative of their journey as a disabled person whose equal access to the university environment — including physical spaces, course materials, learning, assessment, living, dining and parking — is compromised due to barriers.

I encourage students to reach out to the DRC whether they have experience requesting accommodations or not.

Pete Celeste
Access Consultant, Disability Resource Center

I encourage students to reach out to the DRC, whether they have experience requesting accommodations or not, to start the interactive process in which they will meet with an access consultant, discuss specific barriers that impact their equitable access to the campus environment as a whole, review documentation, if available, and decide together which accommodation(s) will best ameliorate the barriers. We welcome students who may not have documentation. Our access consultants are well-versed in guiding students through the process of obtaining what they need.

Doing what I do as an access consultant in the DRC feels really, really good. I find fulfillment in connecting with students, learning about their journeys as a disabled person, finding commonalities, and contributing to their positive Purdue experience.

Celeste works at his desk at the Disability Resource Center in Young Hall.

I find fulfillment in connecting with students, learning about their journeys and contributing to their positive Purdue experience.

Pete Celeste Access Consultant, Disability Resource Center

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