Event Accessibility

The University of Michigan-Flint hosts a robust schedule of student and community events. Ensuring individuals with disabilities are included is a priority of the institution. This page guides event organizers in ensuring your event is as inclusive as possible.


  • When sending an email, avoid only sending images. Although it may look nice, individuals who are blind, or have a reading disability, access their emails using text-to-speech software. Often, this software cannot access text within images. Always include the same information in text form, or provide a link to a web page with all the event information.
  • Use a sans-serif font of at least 14 point.
  • Make sure you have good color contrast. Dark lettering on a dark background will not be visible to many.
  • Some individuals have allergies or sensitivity to scents and certain chemicals. Consider making your event scent-free and ask attendees in marketing materials to refrain from wearing heavy colognes, perfumes, or other scents.
  • Include an access statement to let individuals needing accommodations know who to contact. A sample access statement is below:

For further information on sending accessible marketing messages, see the Happenings & Events Guidelines and Best Practices.

Sample Access Statement:

“If you are an individual with a disability and need accommodations, please contact (name, phone number, email)”. This should be the event coordinator.

Presentation Materials

  • If you have a speaker who has a PowerPoint presentation, ask them to provide a copy beforehand. Individuals with low vision can follow the presentation on their own device.
  • Any electronic materials used should be accessible to text-to-speech software. Many times, image files and PDF’s can be problematic. For more information on making accessible electronic files, see the University of Michigan Accessibility Website.
  • Ensure captions and audio descriptions are available if you are showing a video.

Event Location

  • When planning seating, remember that you may have attendees who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices. Accessible seating locations should be placed throughout so they have the same choice of seating as attendees who do not use mobility devices.
  • Keep in mind you may have attendees who have service animals. The service animal will need water and a location to relieve themselves. Make sure you know where those locations will be. (Providing a water bowl for all events is a great way to promote inclusion!)
  • Ensure any pathways are wide enough to allow for easy traffic flow and avoid bottlenecks.
  • Make sure printing on displays is large and easily visible.

During Presentations

  • Always use a microphone! You may have a loud voice, but individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing may still be unable to hear you. If you have a Q & A session, have a separate microphone available for questions. If that is not possible, the speaker should repeat the question before answering.
  • Speakers should face the audience and introduce themselves. A brief description of their appearance is also helpful for individuals with visual impairments.
  • If you have an American Sign Language Interpreter or CART Transcription, make sure it is visible to the audience. Depending on the size of your event, please consider providing this service whether or not it is requested beforehand.

Interpreters and Captioning

  • Both ASL interpreting and CART (Communication Access Real-Time) services should be available for all events. Cost for these should be added to the event budget.
  • Automated captioning tools are available, but still have concerns about accuracy. They may be sufficient in some situations, such as small or one-on-one meetings, but should be avoided for large events.
  • The U-M National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) has created a Shared ASL/CART Services spreadsheet which can help select a provider

Parking and Transportation

  • Know where the closest disabled parking is and ensure the path to and from it is clear.
  • If it has recently snowed, make sure paths are clear of snow and ice.
  • If you are transporting people from one place to another (including field trips), make sure the transportation you use is wheelchair accessible.

Food and Drink

  • For people with food allergies and dietary restrictions, ensure a list of ingredients used to prepare the food is available.
  • If you are using a registration form, include an option for attendees to report dietary needs and have options available for them.

Emergency Planning

  • Ensure exits are clearly marked and emergency signals have audio and visual signaling.
  • Know where the areas of refuge are. If an individual is unable to get out in an emergency situation, know where they should go and contact DPS.