Alex Watters is a First Year Advisor at Morningside College who, in a diving accident during his Freshman year in college, lost the ability to use his hands and legs. This hasn’t stopped his mind from churning or his wheels from turning. Literally.
Watters came to our interview relaxed, excited, and seated in an electric wheelchair. Losing the use of his legs and hands has not stopped him from becoming a large member of the city council or from pursuing a political and instructional career. In fact, it fueled his want to have “the ability to make a difference” in the lives of students and people like him.
As a First Year Advisor, Watters is tasked with helping new college students ease into the challenges of college life. He offers support, guidance, and inclusion to them, but this was not always his dream.
Watters had aspirations to one day be a golf pro and even own his own golf course and restaurant, but his golf career was put on hold with his accident. After, his mind changed to his studies and now his job.
Since his accident, Watters has become wrapped in the idea of making a difference. Yes, he wants to change every student’s life, but he also wants to change and even solve the obstacles facing those who are handicapped, starting with Morningside College.
After rehabilitating from his accident, Watters returned to Morningside to continue his college education but noticed that their accessibility for those in wheelchairs was limited. His accident began to promote push buttons for doors across campus and the acceptance of other handicapped people.
Handicap accessible dorms only existed in Roadman when he returned to the school, and to this day they are still the easiest to access. Dimmitt has since added accessibility to the back, but the hills still pose major problems.
Many academic buildings on campus are older, so accommodations are needed for some classes to be placed on ground level floors. Lewis Hall and its Business, Registrar, and Admissions offices are still all inaccessible.
Buildings are still unequipped with elevators, and Lincoln Center still does not have push buttons for doors. Though Morningside has made many changes to its handicap accessibility, it still has many steps to take before being considered greatly accessible.
Though Watters does understand the extra cost it is to update systems, he is also disappointed in the steps Morningside hasn’t taken since he graduated. He said that he wants these changes “not in a selfish way, but in an inclusive way” for students like himself.
He hopes that Morningside will continue investing funds into accessibility in the future, even if he is no longer working on campus.
When asked what the future holds for him and what his goals to accomplish are he said he had no idea. He said that “goals and aspirations should adjust and change as you grow as an individual” so he expects that his goals will change.
Though he doesn’t exactly have a solid plan for the future, he does live in the idea that he is living the dream right now, literally “living the dream man.” And that has no plans to change.