Back to school supply challenge? You’re on!

Disability Services (the winner of the Toilet Paper Challenge on the Green Bay campus last semester) on behalf of The Division of Student Affairs and Campus Climate, has challenged Enrollment Services to “fill up the back to school store!” Donation boxes can be found in the Career Services suite!  The winner will be tabulated on Friday, August 3, 2018. Wisconsin Sales Tax Holiday starts August 1. The Service League of Green Bay still needs the high priority items:  1-subject wide rule notebooks, non-washable markers, fun pencils, wide-rule loose-leaf paper, boys-themed folders, 8 x 5 pencil boxes and children’s books. See more about the event which will be hosted on campus this year.

Kim Metzger and Lynn Niemi in front of toilet paper

Disability Services wipes out competition in Toilet Paper Challenge

The 2018 Great Toilet Paper Challenge at UW-Green Bay ended with a small office of two — Disability Services — making big contributions and wiping out the competition.

"Because that's how we roll!"

TP on display in the window Counseling and Health Center
TP on display in the window
Counseling and Health Center

In early January, the Student Affairs and Campus Climate and Enrollment Services divisions met to better acquaint employees from both divisions and update all on what is new in each department. As part of those updates, Stacie Christian reported the Campus Cupboard was most in need of toilet paper. Thus began The Great 2018 TP Challenge.

The teams (Admissions, Financial Aid/Bursar, Registrar/GBOSS, Disability Services, Counseling and Health, and Academic Advising/Career Services) rose to the challenge and spent two weeks bringing in donations and taunting the competition. The motivation — serving UW-Green Bay students. The prize — a King Cake on Mardi Gras, recognition in the Log.

“Team Disability Services, insisted they were the little office with a big impact,” reported Academic Advisor Stephanie Murphy. “Counseling and Health drew attention to their efforts with an at-home port-a-potty outside its door, and Advising and Career Service’s pile grew steadily.”

On Feb.13 (2018), participants gathered to share food and celebrate. The Little Office that Could beat out Team Academic Advising/Career Services by a mere 12 rolls with a total of 451 rolls. Their reaction? “We knew we could wipe out the competition.”

Donated toilet paper packages
Bath tissue donation piled in CK One

A total of 1,486 rolls of toilet paper were collected for the Campus Cupboard, which is always in need of personal health items like toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant and soap. Please consider a “fun” drive of your own to help out students in need.


Faculty, please note changes from Disability Services

The Disability Services Office has acquired a new software case management program (ACCESS) that will allow students to manager their disability accommodations online.  Starting the Spring 2018 semester, faculty and instructional staff will be receiving Accommodation Request (AR) forms through UW-Green Bay email instead of hand-delivered by the student. Returning students will be able to request their accommodations without waiting weeks for an appointment. New students will apply online through the Disability Services website and can upload documentation to the ACCESS site. As the semester progresses Disability Services will bring more features online, such as a note taking repository and test proctoring. DS is excited to move to this software system as several UW Institutions have been using this software to both aid in the delivery of services and provide important data and case notes for compliance.

‘Disabilities’ is topic for Inclusive Excellence series program Thursday

Lynn Niemi, UW-Green Bay coordinator for disability services, will lead a panel discussion from 2 to 3 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 20) in the Union’s Christie Theatre for the next installment in the Inclusive Excellence and Equity Certificate Series of programs. The topic is “Disabilities.” Niemi says that approximately 20 percent of U.S adults can be classified as having a disability. A guest panel of students, employees and experts in disability issues will answer questions regarding their experiences and how to request disability-related accommodations. There will also be a brief overview of disability law as it relates to the University.

Smith issues call for your office’s policies on disability issues

As the result of federal requirements related to certain funding received by the University, Greg Smith of the Counseling and Health Center is heading up a review of policies and procedures related to people who have disabilities. Does your department or unit have any policies or procedures that specifically refer to employees, students or other people who have disabilities? If so please send a copy of those policies or procedures or a web link to Smith at Not every department will have or need such policies and procedures, so if you do not have any there is no need to take any action. Thanks to those who have already responded to this request. Any questions? Contact Greg at 465-2380 or Lynn Niemi at 465-2841.

Disability Services staff invites you to session on ‘access to instruction’

“A Clear Standard for Access to Instruction” is the topic for a national audioconference that will have a local link-up courtesy of UW-Green Bay’s Disability Services Office. The program runs from 2 to 3:30 p.m. CDT Thursday, Aug. 29. RSVPs may be sent to or Offered by AHEAD (the Association on Higher Education and Disability), the audioconference will assess the impact of a July settlement announced by the U.S. Justice Department involving Louisiana Tech University and a complaint about inaccessible course materials. An experts panel will review highlights of recent cases, discuss campus obligations for accessibility in online environments and outline concrete steps for the future.

TV-2 to spotlight wheelchair-bound grad who will walk to receive diploma

Earlier this week, we brought you the inspiring story of UW-Green Bay senior Jennifer Ulrich, who plans to walk across the Kress Events Center stage to receive her diploma Saturday — despite the fact that she’s been in a wheelchair since childhood. More than a year ago, Ulrich set a goal to learn to walk, and decided graduation day would be the perfect time to achieve that dream. WBAY, Channel 2’s Kristyn Allen came to campus Friday (May 17) to talk with Ulrich about her journey. Their story is set to air during the 6 p.m. newscast tonight (Friday, May 17); a text preview is provided. We’ve also got our original UW-Green Bay News story on Ulrich and her impressive dual accomplishment.

Significant steps: Grad to realize dream of walking across commencement stage

Jennifer Ulrich has long been known, as she puts it, as “the girl in the wheelchair with the black dog.”

The UW-Green Bay senior and her assistance dog, Wilson, have become a familiar presence on campus during the past several years, as Ulrich has pursued her degree in Psychology. But come Saturday, Ulrich will be known according to a different designation.

The girl who walked across the stage.

She’ll make the trek despite spina bifida and cerebral palsy, which have kept her in a wheelchair since childhood. She’ll make it because of an unflinching personal determination, a special mentor — and some seriously goal-oriented roommates.

“The first thing we did was talk about what our dreams and goals are,” Ulrich said, recalling an initial conversation with new roomies a year ago. “I just plain old wanted to learn how to walk.”

Getting there

Ulrich says a UW-Green Bay personal conditioning class was a key turning point in her physical and mental journey toward walking. She took the course with UW-Green Bay Associate Lecturer Jane Birr, a life coach and author with a passion for fitness and helping and motivating others. Birr, a 1985 UW-Green Bay alumna, helped Ulrich “stay on my goals and kick me in the butt,” Ulrich recalls with a laugh. Birr also told her to set a date for when she wanted to walk. For Ulrich, that part was easy.

“I thought graduation would be a perfect time.”

Of course, getting there wouldn’t be so easy. Stretching and strengthening often were painful, and there were times Ulrich wanted to quit, she said.  And although she credits Birr for keeping her going, Birr is quick to deflect that credit back to Ulrich.

“Jenni does not quit,” Birr said. “I think she deleted that button in her head! She finds a way. Jenni charted out a big vision; now people are rallying behind her to help. But in the end, it is the daily hard work that Jenni puts in when no one is watching that sets her apart.

“Many people say that (they) want to reach a goal, and then (they) quit. Jenni persists.”

Standing — and swimming, and climbing — before she could walk

Birr first noticed that persistence three years ago, when Ulrich made it her goal to obtain a new wheelchair that would allow her to stand. Her insurance company balked at the chair’s $40,000 price tag, but Ulrich was undeterred. She kept at it, and was able to obtain the device through the Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation. It was another turning point, Birr said, in terms of both physical goals and attitude.

“She has since started her journey to become a black belt and has won numerous very large trophies,” Birr said. “She has swam with dolphins, climbed the wall at the Kress (Events Center) twice, took up skiing … the list goes on and on. She is jumping in, having fun and working hard, so if she says she is going to walk, I sure am not going to bet against her.”

Ulrich and Birr worked hard together, but Ulrich realized she’d need more help to achieve her goal. It took some convincing to get her doctors to send her to physical therapy — but again, persistence paid off. Now Ulrich attends physical therapy twice a week, preparing for her big moment.

“I have what I call an old granny walker,” she said with a laugh. “I’m 24 years old and I’ve never walked (in my adult life).”

Thirty-eight feet

As excited as she is to finally achieve her goal, Ulrich admits she’s very nervous about Saturday. She’ll walk with Wilson beside her, and UW-Green Bay Disability Services Coordinator Lynn Niemi behind her, wheeling her wheelchair (if she falls, Ulrich explains, she tends to fall backward).

Ulrich can walk about 38 feet at a time, she said — “but it’ll feel like a mile to me.”

A mile may be defined in the legs of the walker, but a milestone doubtlessly will be apparent to all present Saturday. For those watching — and for anyone pursuing a goal — Ulrich has some sage advice.

“Keep a positive attitude. If you’re positive and happy, it’s like a magnet,” she said. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way. If you can see yourself doing it, then it’s possible.”

Update: Ulrich achieved her goal of walking across the commencement stage May 18. For more on her achievement, including a video of the big moment, click here.


UW-Green Bay student Jennifer Ulrich inspires with her story of persistence

Jennifer Ulrich, senior, UW-Green BayBeginning karate may not be the class you’d expect to find UW-Green Bay senior Jennifer Ulrich in. Spina bifida and cerebral palsy have confined her to a wheelchair.

“I can kick and use my legs but I can’t stand or walk unaided,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich is used to doing the unexpected. Last year, the Human Development and psychology major set her sights on a new $40,000 wheelchair that would allow her to stand.

“Standing was very important because I could see people face to face, self-esteem, I could reach cabinets and do chores that were once very difficult for me. And I could participate in a lot more things at a quote-unquote normal level than I would if I were sitting lower than everybody else,” Ulrich said.

Ulrich set her goal as part of a personal conditioning class.

“I followed it in a journal, three times a week, and just worked at my goal and my goal was to get my standing wheelchair,” Ulrich said.

The first place she went was her insurance company.

“Insurance actually told me standing is a luxury not a necessity,” Ulrich said.

But she would not take no for an answer. She continued searching for a solution to her $40,000 problem. She found it at the Wisconsin Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

“They decided that a standing wheelchair would help me most in school and when getting a job and interviews so that an employer does not have to accommodate me. I can do the job myself,” Ulrich said.

So about one month ago, Ulrich got her new wheels:

“This chair is the C500 VS Permobil,” Ulrich said.

Jennifer Ulrich, senior, UW-Green BayNow at the push of a button, Ulrich can stand. She hopes her experience sends a message to others about perseverance. In fact, she has been invited back to the class, this time as a motivational speaker.

“No matter what challenges you may face, if you keep an open mind anything is possible,” Ulrich said.

Niemi earns selection to UW System committee on disability issues

UW-Green Bay’s coordinator of disability services has been invited to serve on UW System President Kevin Reilly’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues. Lynn Niemi was one of three new appointees selected for the 10-person committee, which includes representatives of students, System administration and campus professionals. She will attend her first meeting in fall.