University News

WIU Foundation Facilitates Disability Awareness Programming Through RPTA Gift

May 5, 2022

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MACOMB, IL -- The mission of Western Illinois University includes empowering students, faculty and staff to lead dynamic and diverse communities.

The WIU Foundation is helping the University's Department of Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) achieve that mission through a grant that allowed the department to purchase six sport wheelchairs.

The disabled community is often neglected in discussions of diversity and inclusion. RPTA, through the Foundation's gift, and its partnerships with Campus Recreation, is trying to further awareness of the benefits of adapted and inclusive recreation. Adaptive sport provides a space where people, disabled or not, are exposed to traditional sport and modified sport in an environment that allows not only participation and training, but also competition.

Adaptive sport also facilitates individuals of various ages, ability levels, and social roles in developing vocational skills, gaining knowledge about disability, and opportunities for engagement.

RPTA Professor Cindy Piletic said the chairs will not only be used in RPTA courses, but, through partnerships with Campus Recreation, there will also be a new, intramural wheelchair basketball league.

"Having sport wheelchairs will allow us to better train our students in inclusive recreation and adaptive sport and facilitate inclusion across campus for those with disabilities," she said.

WIU Foundation Executive Officer Brad Bainter said the Foundation is happy to offer the assistance to RPTA.

"It is especially rewarding to know that we are assisting our students to prepare for careers that will include working with people who deal with disabilities everyday of their lives," Bainter said.

For more information about the RPTA program at WIU, visit

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