Guidelines for Planning Accessible Events

At Michigan Technological University, we strive to be inclusive to all members of our community, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors with disabilities. Under federal law, Michigan Tech is required to provide access to programs and services for all participants, including participants who need accommodations in order to participate.

Some things to remember:

  • Meetings, conferences, and events planned or sponsored by Michigan Tech are expected to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.
  • Event organizers are responsible for ensuring that their publications, advertisements, programs, services, and activities are accessible.
  • Planning for an accessible event helps to ensure that all participants, including individuals with non-obvious disabilities and/or chronic health conditions, and people of all ages and body types, are able to fully engage in the program or service.

The following information is provided to assist event organizers in the planning and delivery of events to ensure accessibility for all participants.

Registration Information and Forms

Registration materials should include a statement describing procedures for requesting accommodations(s) along with a contact person. The message may include language such as "Our goal is to host an inclusive, accessible event that enables participation of all individuals, including individuals with disabilities. To request an accommodation or for inquiries about accessibility, please contact (name, email, phone)."

Participants must be given an opportunity to request accommodations within a specific timeframe. To help with advanced planning, consider including the following example on registration materials, as a checklist, in your RSVP:

"Please indicate the accommodations(s) that you are requesting for your conference participation:"

  • Wheelchair accessible lodging
  • Wheelchair access to working tables throughout room
  • Dietary needs
  • Electrical power source for recharging batteries (specify voltage)
  • Assistive devices (specify types)
  • Real time captioning/sign language interpreter
  • Assistive listening devices
  • Audio-taped materials
  • Advance copy of slides to be projected
  • Sighted guides for assistance to and from specific sessions
  • Preferential seating
  • Scent-free room
  • Lactation room
  • Portable amplification systems
  • Alternative formats (large print, braille, electronic copies) of printed materials
  • Program relocation to a more accessible location (determine an alternative plan for meeting rooms or facilities that are not accessible)
  • Other (specify) 

If lodging and/or meals are coordinated through the event, accommodation requests related to diet and lodging must be considered. When talking to hotels, ensure that they understand their level of accessibility and have procedures for providing access to their facilities. 

Please follow up on all accommodation requests received. If you are unable to meet a specific request, contact the individual who made the request to determine whether an alternative arrangement can be made.

Also consider including language asking participants to refrain from wearing strong fragrances, in order to be respectful to those with allergies or environmental sensitivities.

Accessible Route and Parking

 Parking

  • Nearby ADA designated parking

Route and Entrance

  • Route from ADA parking to entrance is flat and paved
  • A ramp is available where exterior steps lead to entrance
  • Proximity to bus stop
  • Clear signage to an accessible entrance (if main entrance is inaccessible) is present
  • The door has a lever style handle (not a knob) and is relatively light, if the door is not automatic or held open

Location and Venue

Visibility

  • Clear signage identifying location and directions indicates location of accessible restrooms and elevators
  • Clearly indicate allergens and food options, such as gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, etc.
  • Well-lit meeting spaces and adjacent areas
  • Stage and projector screen is easily visible from all seating (if in use)

Acoustics

  • Roving microphone
  • Limit unnecessary background music
  • Seating available near presenter for lip reading
  • Availability of assistive listening devices 

Mobility

  • Movable furniture, or in fixed seating areas, accessible seating options are available for participants with mobility disabilities
  • Interior walkways are wide (at least 36”)
  • Barrier free pathways
  • Plenty of space to maneuver around tables
  • Wide doorways and aisles
  • Elevator access
  • Accessible restrooms located near event/meeting spaces
  • Electric cords crossing walkways are covered

Technology/Zoom

  • Electrical outlets in accessible seating areas to accommodate devices
  • Extra work surface space
  • Captioning
  • Visit Michigan Tech’s Accessible Technology webpage for more on accessible information and communication technology and work with IT to set up technology/equipment for event

Service Animals

  • Comfortable space for service animals to rest during event
  • Accessible toileting and watering facilities nearby

Promotional Materials and Event Advertisements

All advertisements must include the following statement to ensure accessibility accommodations can be requested. This includes brochures, flyers, position announcements, web flyers, email blasts, Facebook event pages, Tech Today articles, etc.

  • "Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made by [specific date] to [sponsoring department contact person, phone number, and email address]." 

More than one contact method is useful, or at least an email address, since not everyone uses telephone lines. If an accommodation has already been secured, such as real time captioning or specific equipment, note that as well. For example:

  • "FM amplification systems are available"
  • "Real-time captioning/CART services are provided"

If your advertising/promotional materials will be distributed off campus, please include Michigan Tech’s EEO statement.

Event Workers

If your event has scheduled accommodations, designate an event worker to be responsible for the accommodations and accessibility needs. Ensure they are available to assist with seating arrangements, clearing pathways, directing participants, answering questions, handling remote microphones, etc., and that they are available to assist presenters as needed.

Presenters and Presentations

Be sure the presenters at your event are aware of your commitment to creating an inclusive event environment. Ask presenters to prepare and deliver their presentations with accessibility in mind.

Provide presenters with a checklist requesting that they:

  • submit materials in advance so that they can be forwarded to individuals who may not be able to view screens or flip charts;
  • verbally describe visual materials (e.g., slides, charts, etc.);
    have printed copies available (in larger font);
  • avoid using small print on presentations that can’t be seen from a distance;
  • ensure speakers (including those asking questions) always use a microphone;
  • activate captions on any video used in the presentation;
  • encourage hourly breaks; and
  • organize breakout group activities to maximize distance between groups (e.g. each group going to a corner of the room or side rooms). 

Q and A Sessions

Repeat questions posted by the audience before responding, especially if there is not a roving microphone available. Even if presenters or audience members may believe that they are loud enough and do not wish to use a microphone, ask them to use one anyway.

Please note: All monetary costs associated with ensuring an accessible event are the responsibility of the sponsoring department. 

 For questions regarding accommodations for University sponsored events or for accessibility policies, please contact Institutional Equity.