Accessibility resource guide for student leaders

Why we created this guide

SOFC works with student dollars. We strive to ensure that those dollars are going towards supporting all students on our campus, including members of our community with disabilities. By providing this resource guide, we hope that student leaders have a better understanding of the concrete steps they can take to improve the accessibility of their events and programming. We also want to hear about some of the ways that org leaders are implementing these tips and resources while we read their funding applications. Whether it's for renting a wheelchair-accessible meeting room or compensating a sign language interpreter, SOFC is here to support student organizations in their efforts to maximize inclusivity.

This is a living document and we welcome your feedback.


What is universal design and how does it relate to my event?

What is Universal Design?

  • "Universal design is a way of configuring an environment so that anyone – with or without a disability – can access it easily and fully."

  • Examples of universal design:

    • Ramps that allow building access to people in wheelchairs, pushing strollers, pulling a cart, etc.

    • Designing an open floor plan and wider hallways and door frames, allowing greater access to people using mobility devices and people communicating using sign language

    • Incorporating signage that is easy to interpret for anyone – including people with reading disabilities or who don't speak English

    • Installing non-slip floor tiles in a bathroom

  • Universal design is a useful principle to consider when planning an event or program


Things to consider when planning an event:

  • Are the building and room accessible?

  • Are the seating arrangements wheelchair accessible?

  • What is the sound level?

  • Is there signage for restrooms, water, etc.

  • Are there gender-inclusive restrooms in the area?

  • Have emergency procedures been communicated?

  • Be sure: 

    • That video/audio materials have captions.

    • That visual material is verbally described and is screen reader accessible.

    • To use simple colors, simple sentences, and use consistent layouts.

    • To invite participants to identify accommodation needs and provide contact information for who to reach from your organization regarding those needs.


General resources:

Designing For Accessibility: Slideshow Cover Page

Resources specific to U-M:

  • The University’s Accessible & Inclusive Events Resource Guide

    • This document was created by the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) to provide a helpful resource for planning accessible and inclusive events and meetings on the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor campus. This resource guide compiles existing tools and information specific to campus venues as well as helpful tips about designing accessible and inclusive events

  • Mclassrooms 

    • This resource allows you to look up any classroom for images and info. It includes information such as whether or not there's a ramp in a larger lecture hall, movable furniture, how cramped the space is, etc.

  • Gender Inclusive Restrooms

    • This document gives a list of all gender-inclusive, accessible bathrooms available to students. The list is ordered alphabetically by building name.

  • Campus Map and Parking Information

    • This page provides information on campus parking structures and buildings, and it will give you ramp and elevator accessibility info.

  • Reflection Rooms on Campus

    • This page describes the location, size, and amenities of the Reflection Rooms on campus. These spaces can serve as quiet zones for people experiencing sensory overload.


Further learning: 


Who contributed to this guide?

  • This guide draws its resources mainly from the Campus for Center Involvement and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

  • Further input came from Ashley Wiseman, Associate Director of the Global Scholars Program