Hosting Accessible In-Person Events

SAS’s Accessibility Top 5 Tips:

  1. Give people information about what to expect from the event in terms of sensory environment; physical and location factors; media or texts to be used; timeline and structure of events.
  2. Have a contact person for individual accommodation requests listed clearly in marketing materials and in your EmConnect page, and invite people to reach out to make requests and/or to ask for more specific information.
  3. Consider alternate modalities for participation. Perhaps the event can be hybrid (livestreamed or pre-recorded), or the event can have options to branch into alternative spaces or activities that meet the needs of diverse participants.
  4. Be open to feedback on further accessibility considerations for future planning. Make accessibility considerations part of the planning group’s event-debrief conversation.
  5. Even if not all of these things can be provided, be transparent with what you have/don’t have so that folks can determine for themselves if they can attend rather than be surprised. Strive for equity!

Tips in Practice for Accessibility

Event Logistics

  • RSVP list (ask for accommodation needs)
  • Send written materials to CART or other transcription purposes!
  • Provide actual street addresses, name of building, and room number(s)
  • If the event’s off-campus, do an accessibility walk-through
  • Provide transit directions and parking info i.e. The Ride, valet, street, or garage parking
  • Signage is always helpful!
  • Inform participants if there is NO elevator, ramp, or escalator (ideally the space should have them)
  • Share a floor plan/room description if possible!
  • Create a quiet area for overstimulation


  • List physical set-up of food (pizza eaten in chairs on paper plate and balanced on lap? Sit down meal? Standing up with apps served?)
  • Provide a menu for what is being served and ensure that a basic diversity of needs is met: gluten-free, vegetarian
    • Individual specialized dietary needs can be requested in the RSVP.
  • Assess food provided for any potential allergens and cross-contamination risks.
  • Have food ingredients/category labeled clearly in large font (20 pt.)

Health, Safety, & Sensory

  • Mask use: make the request for use clear (requested, recommended, required?)
  • Offer masks and hand sanitizer
  • Marketing materials can state that potential participants should not attend if feeling unwell
  • Requesting a fragrance-free environment is ideal
  • Vocalize the sensory details in your event description (i.e. loud music, smells, etc.)
  • Ensure there is space for people with mobility devices to navigate easily (ramps, elevators, etc.)

Event Process

  • Describe yourself verbally during introductions for participants who have low vision
    • Consider sharing: What you look like, factors related to your identity that are visible to seeing members of the audience, what you’re wearing, etc.
  • Inform people of location of restrooms, including accessible and gender-neutral
  • Consider hybrid options: Virtual and in-person, livestreamed or pre-recorded
  • Captions or CART should be a must-have for anything digital! Send materials in  advance (i.e. slides, party program, etc.) in HMTL or Google Drive format for screen readers
  • Manage an RSVP list including specific additional accommodation requests
    (have a point person)
  • Request any speeches to be written and sent in advance for CART/captioning
  • Provide a timed agenda that includes breaks, and reference it

For questions, please contact:

Assistant Director for Accessible Engagement - Jordy Lome or 617-824-3996
Set up a consultation with Jordy 

“Inclusion is an attitude, belonging is its verb”

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