Courtesy of SAS

On Wednesday, Yale Student Accessibility Services, or SAS, celebrated the opening of the Good Life Center at SAS, the first space at Yale specifically designated for students with disabilities. 

The new space is a collaboration between SAS, the Good Life Center and student activists across Yale’s campus. Over the summer of 2023, SAS began the process of converting a former classroom assigned to the office into a student lounge, but the idea of an initiative for an inclusive space for Yale students with disabilities to socialize and relax has been a longtime aspiration for SAS and the Good Life Center. 

Corinne Coia, director of Yale College Wellness Programs, told the News about her goal to open more Good Life Center satellite spaces.

“Our original space is at the Schwarzman Center, and we opened our first satellite location at the Divinity School,” she told the News. “Our mission is to remind students that relaxation is important for academic and personal growth as well.”

Kimberly McKeown, director of SAS, told the News that what was initially a small-scale project became a larger collaborative effort. After SAS employees reached out to colleagues at the Good Life Center for tips on improving the atmosphere of the lounge, the two groups began working together to create a co-sponsored space.

The space was specifically designed in consideration for students with disabilities, featuring various seating options, lighting control, snack options and environmental considerations. Coia said that the teams at SAS and the Good Life Center thought carefully about the design of the space, especially concerning students who use wheelchairs and have sensory disabilities. 

Vanessa Blas ’22 SPH ’23, Woodbridge Fellow and director of programming at the Good Life Center, told the News that they wanted to create the atmosphere of a “lived environment.” The space, which features live plants and a moss wall, was curated by members of the Good Life Center. With a wide array of seating options and a cozy interior, the Good Life Center team said that they not only want the space to serve many purposes for students with disabilities but also to act as a place to relax and hang out with friends. 

Kimberly Goff-Crews ’83 LAW ’86, secretary and vice president for university life at Yale, leads the Belonging at Yale initiative, which aims to advance Yale’s mission for vibrant community life and the fostering of a learning environment in which every student feels a sense of belonging. At the space’s opening celebration, she told the News about her pride and appreciation for student activism’s role in making the space possible. 

“We had a lot of excited students coming together,” Goff-Crews told the News. “We had students that were thinking about SAS and thinking about the intersection of support for students with disabilities. A lot of this was done in part by the students. It really got us thinking about our work of promoting wellness on campus and about what Yale is as an institution.” 

As of 2022, the number of students reporting disabilities to SAS had almost doubled in three years, a number affinity groups noted was likely an underestimate. Up to the opening of the Good Life Center at SAS, the group has not made any spaces available specifically for students with disabilities.

Elizabeth Conklin, associate vice president for institutional equity, accessibility, and belonging and a Title IX coordinator, was also present at the event. She told the News about her excitement at the space’s opening and expressed hope that its future will continue to inspire the creation of new satellite spaces for Yale’s diverse student body.

“It became apparent to me that we needed more space for students with disabilities to congregate,” Conklin explained to the News. “And it came together beautifully.”

The Good Life Center at SAS is located at 35 Broadway. 


Landon Bishop covers Accessibility at Yale. He is a freshman in Benjamin Franklin College majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.