Planning Accessible Events
The Colorado College community shares a commitment to value all persons and seeks to learn from their diverse experiences and perspectives. Thus, we are dedicated to the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities and to the continual improvement of accessibility to our campus, programs, activities, and services. This includes planning accessible events, whether on or off campus, so that persons with disabilities can participate fully in the Colorado College experience.
Please contact Jan Edwards, Director of Accessibility Resources & ADA/504 Coordinator (719-227-8285; firstname.lastname@example.org) or Facilities Services (719-389-6568) if you have questions or need assistance in planning accessible events.
I. Inform Participants with Disabilities on How to Arrange for Accommodations
Welcoming people with disabilities begins with including an accommodation statement that invites participants to request accommodations in advance of the event in all pre-event publicity and registration materials, including print ads, web pages, radio and TV spots, and flyers. This will enable the event planner to arrange most of the accommodations and services in advance. The accommodation statement should include:
- Who the request should be made to (person or office)
- How a person can request an accommodation (phone and e-mail)
- By when the request should be made (date, usually at least one week in advance of the event)
- If you have questions concerning access or wish to request disability-related accommodations, please contact [name] at [phone number and email address] as early as possible.
- Colorado College welcomes participants with disabilities. For questions about accessibility or to request accommodations, please contact [name] at [phone number and email address]. Requests should be made at least one week in advance of the event.
If you receive questions about accessibility or an accommodation request and are unsure of how to respond, ensure that you understand the question or request and let the person know that you will be back in touch with an answer shortly. You may contact the Director of Accessibility Resources for advice in responding.
II. Accessible Venues and Accommodations
The sponsoring department/program is responsible for ensuring that an event is held in an accessible facility or space. However, if an event requires participants to give advance notice that they will participate, such as through a registration process or RSVP, the event can be scheduled to be held in a venue that is not accessible. Keep in mind, though, that if a person with a disability needs a level of accessibility that is not otherwise provided, the event will need to be relocated to an accessible space. Therefore, it is advisable to hold all events in accessible spaces.
All primary venues on campus are accessible except for the Fishbowl, Hamlin House, Stewart House, and Interfaith House.
If you are considering an off-campus venue, items to consider include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Availability of accessible parking and an accessible drop-off area
- Accessibility of the primary entrance (Is it level or ramped? Does it have either an accessible door or automatic door opener?)
- Availability of wheelchair seating that allows for companion seating
- Clear signage to identify accessible features
- Accessibility of restrooms and drinking fountains
- Adequacy of lighting and space (Is there adequate light for a sign language interpreter? Is there adequate space for service animals, wheelchair maneuverability, etc.?)
- Accessibility of outdoor space (Does the path of travel to the venue present barriers? Does the space provide access for all participants?)
In addition to accessible venues, accessibility requirements may mean providing sign-language interpreters, assistive listening devices, closed captioned media (TV, videos), large print or Braille materials, or other accommodations if requested in advance by participants.
Examples of accommodations that are personal in nature and are therefore not required include, but are not limited to, hearing aids, wheelchairs, and personal assistants.
Although the college is not required to provide wheelchairs, the college has three manual wheelchairs that can be checked out by visitors to the campus. Please contact or refer guests to the Worner Desk (719-389-6000), the Admission Office (719-389-6344), or the Office of Alumni Relations (719-389-6775) to reserve a wheelchair.
If your event requires that participants stay in overnight lodging, ensure that arrangements are made for accessible housing for persons with disabilities.
If your event involves transportation for participants, accessible transportation must be provided for persons with mobility impairments. Please contact the Facilities Services transportation shop regarding transportation needs (719-389-6175).
If a person with a disability needs access to a stage that does not already have a ramp or lift in place, contact Facilities Services (719-389-6568) to arrange for a portable lift.
III. Services for People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
People who are deaf or hard of hearing use a variety of ways to communicate, including but not limited to, sign language or oral interpreters, assistive listening devices, written messages, or computer assisted real-time transcription. The method of communication and the services or aids the college must provide will vary depending upon the abilities of the person who is deaf or hard of hearing and on the complexity and nature of the communications that are required.
Accessibility Resources can assist with requests for sign language interpreters and other communication aids and services for events sponsored by Colorado College. Please contact Accessibility Resources as soon as a request has been made for such services. Most services can be arranged if requested at least one week prior to the event. However, depending on the nature of the service and the event, it may take significantly more time to arrange for provision of the service. For example, sign language interpreters may require more time to prepare for theatrical and other productions.
Accessibility Resources requires the following information to assist in making arrangements for sign language interpreters and other communication aids and services:
- Day and date of event
- Begin and end time
- Name and contact information for the department/event manager sponsoring the event
- Name and contact information for participant requesting a sign language interpreter
- A copy of the program and related materials so the interpreter will be prepared to sign any specialized vocabulary and names
- A copy of the script for theatrical and other productions
If a participant is using the services of a sign language interpreter, provide seating in the front of the room/space for the participant and companions. Sign language interpreters should be situated in the front of the room/space proximate to the speaker and within the sight line of the participant so that both the interpreter and speaker can be viewed simultaneously. A spotlight should be on the interpreter if the lighting in the room is dimmed.
Real-time captioners with laptop monitors should be seated next to the participant. Real-time captioners using projecting equipment should be situated in close proximity to the projection unit. Real-time captioners will require that some space be set aside for the placement of equipment.
Accessibility Resources can work with the sponsoring department/event manager to put reasonable accommodations in place for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are amplification instruments with transmitter and receiver units that are designed to be helpful in specific, but not all listening situations. Hearing aids, which also amplify sound, are instruments that can be used in all listening situations. But because a hearing aid is an all-purpose instrument, it may not be as successful in each and every specific application. An ALD can increase the loudness of a desired sound (e.g., a radio or television, a public speaker, an actor or actress, someone talking in a noisy place) without increasing the loudness of the background noises. There are many ALDs available today, from sophisticated systems used in theaters and auditoriums to small personal systems. People with all degrees and types of hearing loss—even people with normal hearing—can benefit from ALDs.
The following are campus assembly areas that have permanently installed ALD equipment:
- Armstrong Hall, Armstrong Theatre
- Armstrong Hall, Max Kade Theatre
- Bemis Hall, Great Hall
- Cossitt Hall, Gym
- El Pomar Sports Center, Reid Gym
- Honnen Ice Rink
- McHugh Commons
- Olin I
- Packard Hall, Auditorium
- Palmer Hall, Gates Commons
- Schlessman Natatorium
- Shove Chapel
- Slocum Commons
- Taylor Theatre
- Tutt Science Center, Kresge Hall
- Washburn Field
- Worner Center, Gaylord Hall
- Worner Center, WES Room
Portable ALDs can be arranged through Audio Visual Services for other venues.
It is helpful to have a designated person in charge of disability accommodations and equipment; this person should be responsible for knowing where the ALDs and receivers are located and how to assist someone if such a request is made. Please contact ITS: Frontline Services (719-389-6382) for additional information and technical support.
IV. Room Setup and Other Items to Keep in Mind
- When a room does not have fixed seats, remove chairs so that wheelchair locations are integrated with other seating areas.
- Tables used for registration, interviewing, information display, or other services and goods should be between 28”-34” from the floor to the top of the table. If you must have some food or materials placed higher than 34”, be sure that at least a portion of such foods or materials are available at the lower level.
- Aisles should be a minimum of 42” wide to allow for a wheelchair and a passing space.
- Accessible beveled covers should be used over electrical cables or cords that must cross over aisles or pathways so wheelchairs can traverse across them.
- Service animals, which include guide dogs for individuals who are blind, signal dogs for persons who are deaf, assistance dogs for those with mobility impairments, or service animals for persons with emotional disabilities, are permitted to accompany the person with a disability anywhere members of the public have been invited. Such animals must be well behaved and under control. Be aware that you may be asked by the handler where the service animal may be relieved or given water. You may not bar the animal unless it is disruptive. Please refer to the college’s service animal policy for additional information.
- Event planners should be familiar with the college’s emergency preparedness information.
V. Prepare Your Staff
It is invaluable to have an informed event staff. Therefore, prepare your staff so they will be able to answer questions about access to the campus and/or the event, such as the following:
- Know ahead of time where the nearest accessible parking is located.
- Know in advance where the closest accessible restroom is and how to get to it from your event.
- Familiarize yourself with accessible routes in the vicinity of the event. Refer to the Campus Accessibility Guide for the most current information about accessibility features on our campus.
A well-planned event ensures the participation of all. Many experienced people are available at the college to help make sure your event runs smoothly and affords the full participation of people with disabilities. Please seek out those resources. Your efforts make a significant contribution to Colorado College’s commitment to equal access for people with disabilities.