A Guide to Planning Accessible and Inclusive Events
The University of Arizona (Arizona) promotes a progressive and proactive approach to campus accessibility. We strive for our campus experiences to be universally designed, usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for individual modifications. Identifying and removing barriers to access throughout our event planning process results in inclusive and welcoming experiences for our diverse campus community.
What is an event?
An event is any University experience - class, activity, workshop, program, training or field trip - for any university audience, large or small.
What is my role?
As an event planner, you have the opportunity to create experiences that are not just accessible, but welcoming to your diverse audiences. While there is a lot to consider, good design is a process. Any progress toward inclusion is a success!
- Consider accessibility early in your planning. Good planning may not only save you money, but also eliminate the need for retrofitting or individual accommodations.
- Create a positive experience. When there are barriers to participation, it can make attendees feel unwelcome and less likely to return or recommend this event to a friend or colleague. Considering access and inclusion throughout your planning process will help ensure participants have a good experience.
- Commit to similar, if not identical experiences for disabled and non-disabled participants. We strive for equity and inclusion.
- Be knowledgeable about all aspects of your event. As the event planner, you should be prepared to field all event-related inquiries, including questions about access.
Before Your Event
Train your event staff
- Inform staff of accessible features.
- Refer to a disabled person as either "disabled" or a "person with a disability."
- Refer to those using wheelchairs as "wheelchair-users."
- Refer to access feature as "disability-related access," not "special."
- If a disabled participant does not want assistance, respect their decision. Do not continue to offer.
Day of Your Event
- Mark the following with clear and intuitive signage containing the updated Disability Access Symbol:
- Flow of traffic
- Physical layout
- Arrange space so that all guests can use common routes. Routes are wide, flat/paved and clear of debris.
- Distribute accessible seating options.
- Accessible cord covers are used to cover exposed cords or hoses on ground
- Communication Access
- If amplified sound is being used, inform guests that assistive listening devices are available and ask guests to return them when complete.
- Try to eliminate any background noise during the event.
- Captions should be enabled.
- If providing handouts, ensure they are accessible documents.
- If the event will have ASL interpreters or CART captioners, provide them with any event materials at least two business days in advance.
- Service Animals
- Service dogs are welcome on campus and they do not have to be identified by a vest, nor does the individual have to show any certification.
- You may only ask two questions:
- Is the dog a service animal required because of a disability?
- What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
- Learn more about service animals on campus.
Information for Presenters
Event planners should share this information with presenters before the event so they can ensure their presentation and materials are accessible.
Consider the accessibility of activities.
- Is the room set to facilitate everyone's participation in your activities?
- Would someone with low vision, limited mobility or hearing loss be able to participate?
- If your audience is unknown, plan ahead with contingencies.
When presenting, use accessible presentation techniques
After Your Event
Include questions about access on any event evaluations or assessments. For example:
- Were you able to request disability-related accommodations?
- Were you able to fully participate in this event?
- Do you have feedback on how to make this event more accessible next time?
Reflect on any accessibility-related issues and how to design differently in the future. Consider sharing any feedback with the venue.