Meet Your Peer Access Advocate: Tyler Rich
You may have seen Tyler Rich traveling campus on his Segway or hanging out at his favorite spot, the Carrier Starbucks. He’s been featured in the yearbook, the local newspaper, and widely recognized across campus. In just a year and a half of being a student at JMU, Tyler has made his mark in the community.
"Tyler Rich, you inspire me. You don't even know it,"
an anonymous student wrote in chalk on the Commons.
Last year, Tyler got to see firsthand of the effect he has had on other people. The Commons area occasionally has events where students can write in chalk words, advice, or inspirations on the walkway. “Tyler Rich, you inspire me. You don’t even know it,” an anonymous student wrote in chalk. “I go about my day not knowing the effect I have on other people,” Tyler said, stating that the chalk note left him humbled.
One of Tyler’s most gratified achievements at James Madison University is being a Peer Access Advocate. A PAA is a student at JMU who is registered at the Office of Disability Services and gives guidance and support to other students.
“The Segway changed the way I get around as I was no longer limited by my stamina and could stand taller and navigate better.”
Tyler was born with cerebral palsy, which is a condition that affects part of the brain that controls balance and coordination. In December 2007, Tyler got a Segway to assist his mobility. “The Segway changed the way I get around as I was no longer limited by my stamina and could stand taller and navigate better,” he explained, since he used a walker beforehand.
In his position as a Peer Access Advocate, he has had the opportunity to have a voice on campus by presenting to the Student Senate on accessibility around campus. His favorite part of being a Peer Access Advocate, however, is helping other students.
Tyler is a senior majoring in Writing, Rhetoric and Technical Communication, with concentration in technical and scientific, and will be graduating this May. On moving on after JMU, he says “It will be sad to leave JMU, if it was warmer for 6 months out of the year, I’d stay here.” After graduation, he plans to move back to the sunshine state to pursue a career as a freelance writer, specifically for an outdoor publication.
If you would like to make an appointment with a Peer Access Advocate, please stop by Wilson 107 or call the Office of Disability Services.