As part of Recreational Sports and Fitness Services at MSU, the MSU Sailing Center offers programs to everyone no matter the age or ability. However, persons with mobility and other limiting motor disabilities had a difficult time accessing the water to participate in one of the offered classes or programs. With the help of generous donors and other fundraising efforts, the MSU Sailing Center now has an ADA compliant accessible dock and launch providing all students and members of the Greater Lansing community opportunities to participate in water related activities.
Robert Briseño, Operations Coordinator at MSU RCPD, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony and shared, “It’s great that the MSU Sailing Center installed the accessible launch on Lake Lansing. Accessible launches are even beneficial for those who don’t have mobility challenges. They can help everyone get in and out of the water safely. Some of the other accessible launches in the area are on rivers, which can be intimidating for those who are afraid of there being a current. They have kayaks and canoes to rent, too, so it’s exciting to have an additional form of adaptive recreation near campus. As the first one to launch from it on opening day, I fully approve, and I appreciate everyone who had a hand in making this happen.”
From start to finish, this project took approximately two years to complete, with three phases of fundraising and building efforts. The MSU Sailing Center Facility Manager, Scott Petritz, said, “The project took about 2 years to fundraise and complete. There were three phases including the dock. We had to raise money for the accessible walkway matting or Mobi Mat as the product is called. We also needed to build a seawall in front of the sailing center so that we could securely anchor the dock. During this time we participated in Giving Tuesday, used Crowd Power through the University, wrote grants, hosted a 5k race that helped raise funds for the project, as well as worked with a Graduate Course in Non-Profit Fundraising to help create a fundraising plan.”
The accessible dock was completed in early August 2023 and is open to everyone in the Greater MSU and Lansing communities. Having an accessible space like this allows an equal opportunity for everyone to enjoy and have a better experience when participating in water related activities. “It should also be noted that the dock provides a much better experience for all paddlers, especially older clients who, before the dock, had nothing to brace on to when getting up from a low sitting position when launching and returning from kayaking,” said Scott Petritz.
The MSU Sailing Center is open to the public and is located on Lake Lansing in Haslett just east of campus. For more information on the Center and what they offer visit, their website.