The Ed Roberts Campus is a nonprofit (501c3) corporation that has been formed by disability organizations that share a common history in the Independent Living Movement of People with Disabilities. These organizations joined together to build a universally designed, transit–oriented campus located at the Ashby BART Station in South Berkeley. The ERC houses the offices of the collaborating organizations as well as fully accessible meeting rooms, a computer/media resource center, a fitness center, a cafe, and a child development center.Ed Roberts (1939-1995) was an international leader and educator in the independent living and disability rights movements. He fought throughout his life to enable all persons with disabilities to fully participate in society. Ed was a true pioneer: he was the first student with significant disabilities to attend UC Berkeley. He was a founder of UC’s Physically Disabled Students Program, which became the model for Berkeley’s Center for Independent Living (CIL) and over 400 independent living centers across the country. He was one of the early directors of CIL. He was the first California State Director of Rehabilitation with a disability; he was awarded a MacArthur fellowship; and he was co–founder and President of the World Institute on Disability.
The concept of the Campus took form shortly after Ed’s death in 1995. The Berkeley Mayor’s Office convened a meeting of representatives from the City Council, UC Berkeley, CIL, WID and other disability leaders to discuss how to memorialize Ed’s work. Disability community leaders decided they could best commemorate Ed’s work by supporting the organizations that he helped start and the Independent Living Movement that he championed. They decided to do this by establishing a center dedicated to fostering collaboration and improving the services and opportunities for people with disabilities locally and worldwide.