Planning an Event

Click through the list of questions below during the planning stage of your event.
Where relevant, questions are hyperlinked to resources or recommendations.

1. Do you have people on your planning team who can speak to the needs and interests of various students?

People from/with varying:
a) Abilities
b) Ages
c) Familial responsibilities
d) First languages
e) Indigenous communities
f) Gender / sexual identities and orientations
g) Graduate and undergraduate programs
h) Racial and ethnic identities and citizenship statuses
i) Regional locations (e.g. provincial, territorial, global)
j) Religious/spiritual communities
k) Socio-economic / employment statuses

2. Have you thought about the diversity of your emcees, facilitators, speakers/presenters, and performers?

The people on your agenda should represent people from/with varying:
a) Abilities
b) Ages
c) Familial responsibilities
d) First languages
e) Indigenous communities
f) Racial and ethnic identities and citizenship statuses
g) Graduate and undergraduate programs
h) Racial and ethnic identities and citizenship statuses
i) Regional locations (e.g. provincial, territorial, global)

3. Is your event location accessible?

4. Does your event location have an all gender washroom?

York has several gender neutral / all gender washrooms, but they may or may not be close to your planned location. Click HERE for the campus map that indicates their building locations and HERE for the list that indicates where they are in each building.

If your location doesn't have one, consider designating a washroom gender neutral and be sure that it has an accessibility stall.

5. Have you designated someone to collect accessibility and accommodation requests?

Accessibility and accommodation requests can come from your participants, emcees, facilitators, speakers/presenters, performers, volunteers, staff, and service providers.

Typically these include requests for:
a) Food accommodation Dietary restrictions
b) Childcare needs (e.g. childminding services, breastfeeding spaces)
c) American Sign Language (ASL)/ Real Time Captioning (RTC)
d) Accessible documents/Handouts in alternative formats
e) Transportation subsidy
f) Sliding scale tickets
g) Prayer spaces
h) Language translation (e.g. French/English)
i) Service/therapy animal or support accompaniment provisions

If you are using registration forms, be sure to add a section for people where people can make accommodation requests.

6. Have you arranged for the accessibility and accommodations requested?

7. In your floor plan, have you designated space to ensure accessibility?

It is preferable to enable people to sit anywhere in the audience and not separate them based on whether they require assistive devices, service/therapy animals, support person accompaniment, or need American Sign Language (ASL) or Real Time Captioning (RTC) in order to participate in the event. However, you might not have an option depending on your room set up.

To provide access to people with varying hearing, RTC services is preferred as it enables people to sit anywhere; however, it depends on the screen placement and size, and the size of the room. If you need to use ASL instead for a large event, the interpreter might be hard to see from a distance. Consider projecting the ASL interpretation on a large screen. If this isn't an option, you may need to designate an area for ASL close to the interpreter.

Whether you choose RTC or ASL, be sure that there is space for persons with assistive devices and consider that some people with assistive devices might also need ASL/RTC access.

8. Have you followed up with the people making accommodation / service requests?

Depending on the request, available services, and your budget, it may or may not be possible to provide the accommodation. If funding is an issue, please contact the person responsible for student group management. They can advise you as to the current funding available for student groups to access.

It’s one thing to collect accommodation requests, but it is another to ensure that people know whether you can meet their needs. People who ask for accommodations know it can’t always be so. Be sure to follow up and let them know what you are able to offer.

9. Are your emcees, facilitators, speakers/presenters, and performers prepared to do their part to make the event inclusive?

10. Have you thought about other barriers to a participant participation, and sought ways to address them?

11. Have you made the appropriate bilingual signage?

Be sure you have created bilingual signage for service providers – breastfeeding spaces, child minding, American Sign Language, Real Time Captioning, catering - and for an all gender washroom (if there isn’t one already).  Ensure your volunteers and staff are aware of the location of these services.

If you have designated a seating area for people accessing RTC or ASL, or have specific seating with accessible desks, be sure to mark those areas with reserved signs

Signage also includes those markers that ensure staff and volunteers are easily identifiable. This has several benefits, particularly for people who might have requested an accommodation or have accessibility needs. Consider having them wear the same t-shirts, or name badges with the word STAFF or VOLUNTEER in large font.

The Centre for Human Rights, Equity and Inclusion has created signs you can download and print to designate a washroom "all gender" (All Gender Washroom sign, All Gender Accessible Washroom sign).

12. Have you considered adding inclusive commitments/statements to your agenda?

13. Have you considered adding these announcements to your agenda?

14. Have you given thought to how you will evaluate your event?

Draft your evaluation form early. Visit the “Evaluating” tab to assist you in formulating questions that link to measuring the inclusivity of your event.

If you plan to conduct your evaluation after your event, and intend on circulating it by email, be sure to have attendees register for the event and provide an email address. Registration could be organized to collect this information from everyone at the door, or you could ask people to pre-register and provide an email, and then capture anyone who doesn't pre-register at the door.

Whatever you choose, ensure you think of this at the planning stage or you will miss out on obtaining feedback from attendees as to how inclusive your event was.