Accessibility Resource Center

Planning an Accessible Event

Best Practice Guidelines for Planning an Accessible Event

Chico State strives to make its programs and activities accessible to those who want to attend. Accomplishing this goal requires coordination across campus, as well as the participation of those seeking an accommodation. However, primary responsibility for accessibility rests with the event organizer.

Proactive planning for access and inclusion optimizes the opportunity for a well-planned accessible event and minimizes the need for individuals with disabilities to request accommodations to participate in the event.

Making an event accessible is easier if you keep access in mind throughout the planning process. The following information will help you plan for and provide accommodations that will make your event accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities.

Accessible Event Checklist

  • Designate a person responsible for ensuring accessibility of the event and for facilitating requests for reasonable accommodation.
  • Consult with Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) staff.
  • Schedule events in accessible locations.
  • Make all accessibility arrangements well in advance of the event.
  • Consider proactively providing ASL interpreting or CART (communication access real-time captioning) services for the event, particularly larger events, conferences, live-streamed events, etc. ASL or CART services should be requested through ARC, but the organizing department is responsible for payment of these services. 
  • Proactively provide other accessibility measures such as materials in alternative formats.
  • Plan for accessibility expenses in the budget (e.g., ASL interpreters, CART, materials in alternative format).
  • Include a disability access statement in all event announcements, flyers, advertisements, registration websites, or other materials distributed before an event. 
  • Add a text box on the registration form for accommodation requests. Provide multiple avenues for registration if registration is required (e.g., online, paper, in person). 
  • Make all virtual event features accessible.
  • Provide presenters with communication guidelines.
  • Ensure dietary needs are met when serving food.


Accessibility Statement: To inform guests and participants about how to request a disability accommodation, it is critical that information be included in flyers, advertisements, registration websites, or other materials distributed before an event.

The statement should include:

  1. To whom the accommodation request should be made (person or office organizing the event).
  2. How a person can request an accommodation (phone, fax, TTY, or email).
  3. Deadline for submitting an accommodation request (typically this should be at least two weeks in advance). 

NOTE: Any digital advertising (PDF, Word, PowerPoint documents, etc.) should be sent to the Technology Equity and Inclusion (TEIN) office for content remediation. Once your document is created, you may submit a support ticket(opens in new window) for accessible content remediation.

Accessibility Statement Sample:
"Disability Accommodations and Services: If you need a disability-related accommodation, please contact [insert name or office] at [insert phone, fax, or email]. Requests should be made by [insert date, which should be at least two weeks in advance of the event]."

If you have any questions about requests or resources for accommodations in response to your announcement, please contact ARC.

Event Materials

Materials for distribution at the event or on the website should include an accessibility statement. For example, “To request this publication in an alternate format such as large print, e-text, or Braille, contact [insert host office, phone, and email].” Encourage participants to plan ahead for access.

Help is available at ARC or visit Technology Equity and Inclusion(opens in new window) to learn how to create accessible documents in PowerPoint, MS Word, PDF, etc. 

If you are using multimedia, be sure that you are using captioned versions of online audio, films, videos, etc.

Event Location

When selecting a location on campus, ensure that the location is physically accessible. Confirm that accessible parking, entrances, paths of travel, emergency exits, and restrooms are unlocked and unblocked during the hours of your event and ensure that elevators are functioning. 

  • Is the primary entrance wheelchair accessible? If not, put a sign on the primary entrance indicating where the accessible entrance is.
  • Restrooms: Be familiar with where the nearest wheelchair accessible restrooms are located.
  • Path of Travel: Is there a step-free route from the parking lot (accessible parking spaces) to the building entrance? Is this pathway clear of obstructions and barriers and suitable in all weather conditions (i.e., rainy or slippery)?
  • Rooms and Auditoriums: Are all meeting rooms wheelchair accessible (i.e., elevators to upper levels)?
  • Aisles: At least 36" wide for maneuverability, and up to 44" wide if goods and services are available on both sides of an aisle.
  • Cables and cords: Covers should be used over electrical cables and cords that must cross over aisles or pathways. Covers should be no more than 1/2" thick for wheelchairs to traverse across them.
  • If there is a guest presenter, confirm with them in advance if they need any accommodations. In some cases, the presentation area might also need to be wheelchair accessible. 

If for any reason a non-accessible meeting room is chosen, and the event organizer receives a request from an individual with a disability, the organizer must make every effort to work with their respective room scheduler to find an alternate accessible location.

Wheelchair Seating Locations:

Chair Setup: When a room does not have fixed seats, keep in mind two principles for setting up wheelchair seating locations.

  1. The number of chairs removed depends on the total seating (see table below); and
  2. Wheelchair locations should be integrated with other seating areas (thus, chairs removed should be interspersed -- front, middle, back, sides of the room, etc.).

Seating capacity at events and the required number of wheelchair locations needed.

Total Seating CapacityRequired Number of Wheelchair Locations
151-2006 -- plus one additional space for each total seating capacity increase of 100 up to 500. 
501-1,000Two percent of total. Twenty plus one for each 100 or fraction over 1,001. 

Tables used for registration, interviewing, information display, food, or other goods and services should be between 28"-34" from the floor to the top of the table. If guests are seated at the tables, knee space should be at least 27" from the floor to the bottom of the table.

Accessible Outdoor Event Set-up Information

When planning an outdoor event, please be mindful of the following:

  • If the event is outside on grass, are the activities accessible from the pavement allowing people with mobility issues to have equal access?
  • There must be an accessible and unobstructed path of travel around the perimeter of the event and to event activities.
  • If a sidewalk or access to an event is blocked, there must be signage directing guests to an alternate accessible route.
  • If electrical cables or cords are across paths, they must be covered with mats or secured with tape.
  • There must be a direct line of sight to presenters and stages from accessible viewing locations (i.e., views not obstructed by large signs, booths, trees, shrubbery, etc.). 
  • If guest seating tables are placed on the grass, there must also be a few accessible guest tables placed on the adjacent sidewalk or concrete, without blocking paths of travel. It is recommended to have signage indicating that these tables are reserved for guests with disabilities. 
  • Booths and tables (including food tables) must be on the perimeter of the lawn area, facing out, with direct access from the sidewalk or concrete. If the booth is intended to be entered, the entire interior must be on concrete or another accessible surface. Booths must allow 22 feet of clearance in fire lanes. 

Lab Accessibility Standards

To meet federal, state, and university requirements for accessibility, computer labs at Chico State should have the following provisions:

  • One wheelchair accessible station for every 20 stations (5%). Wheelchair stations should meet the following specifications:
    • Minimum knee clearance of 27" high, 30" wide, and 19" deep
    • Tabletop 28"-34" from the floor
    • Stations should be on an aisle
    • Wheelchair stations must have signs indicating that wheelchair users have priority at these stations.
  • Access to wheelchair stations requires a passage no narrower at any point than 32" (e.g., a doorway) and 36" continuously (e.g., the aisle). The space required for a wheelchair to make a 180-degree turn is a clear space of 60" in diameter or an equivalent T-shaped space1.
  • All computers should have the following campus standard software installed:
    • Screen magnification
    • Sticky-keys
    • Mouse-keys


The event organizer must ensure that there is ADA parking along the path of travel to the facility and that the path of travel is the main path of travel to the accessible entrance. If not, there must be an alternative route that is well marked.

Event staff should know that each Chico State parking lot has designated accessible parking spaces and should also understand which parking lot is the closest to the event.

Legal Requirements:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 require that Chico State ensures that its programs, services, goods, and facilities are accessible to individuals with disabilities.

1California Building Code, Title 24, Section 1118B(opens in new window)