Access Control

Open Access

Publication Date


Public Health Sciences


Expected Graduation Date



Honors Thesis/Project Advisor for this Particular Submission:

Caryn J. Brause



Accessibility cannot be achieved through a one-size fits all approach. In order to create universally inclusive environments, thoughtful design must be incorporated to provide individuals with spaces that foster thriving and positively contribute to well-being. This study investigates how accessibility renovations using inclusive design impact the experience of students in the university residential life setting. This is achieved through a case study of the student experience living in Brett Hall dormitory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, which was recently renovated to accommodate students with a range of complex needs. To provide a comprehensive case, this study includes the analysis of floor plans, photos, walkthrough notes, and interviews with two staff members and two students who currently live in the residence hall. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted with two UMass students that currently live in Brett Hall to investigate how the renovations influence their experiences and the meaning they attribute to their living space. These findings contribute to university planners’ understanding of how to renovate existing residential facilities to be more universally accessible for all students. Creating spaces that are accessible to everyone is a critical step in understanding how the college experience can be maximized for all students, especially those living with disabilities.