Accessible Events

Events are central to campus life at ANU. Making your event accessible allows every student to participate, and with a little planning and foresight it can almost always be done. An accessible word document version of the guide below can be found at this link:

1. Selecting Accessible Venues

A) Is the venue accessible?

An accessible venue:

  • Has an accessible entrance – this means there should be; a level entrance with no steps, lift access, or a ramp
  • Is navigable inside by a wheelchair user – this means that they should be able to get around every area the event is occurring, not just through the door
  • Has appropriate seating – this means there should at least be several chairs with armrests and backs where the event is taking place

Look at the ANU’s list of venues that have the ‘fully accessible’ tick –

B) Is there accessible parking?

Accessible parking means:

  • There is an accessible parking spot close to your chosen venue (within 50m)
  • There is an accessible and unbroken path from the parking spot to the venue

Look at ANU’s map of accessible parking (look for orange dots)  –

C) Are there accessible bathrooms?

Accessible bathrooms mean:

  • There is an accessible, unisex toilet either in the venue or close to the venue
  • There is an accessible path between the location of the event and the toilet

Look at ANU’s map of accessible toilets –

IMPORTANT: Always do a walkthrough prior to booking the venue and running the event to ensure that the venue is actually accessible. Check you can enter and move around the building, check that you can make your way from accessible parking to the venue, and check that the path to the accessible bathroom is clear and that the bathroom is actually usable and not being used as storage.

2. Providing Diverse Food Options

By default, you should strive to provide gluten-free (GF), dairy-free (DF), nut-free (NF), and vegan (V) food options at your events. If you’re ordering food, talk to businesses about the GF/DF/NF/V options they provide, and always ask for an ingredients list. 

If you’re preparing food yourselves, do not use the same knives/utensils to prepare allergen friendly (AF) food and non-allergen friendly (non-AF) food. Also, cook AF food first before non-AF foods. This is to prevent cross-contamination.

When serving AF and non-AF foods, always use separate serving utensils. Also make sure you store AF and non-AF foods separately. To ensure the food gets into the right hands, always label GF/DF/NF/V options.

3. Inclusive Advertising & Advertising Accessibility

A) Provide your promotional material and event material in an accessible format

For students with visual or hearing impairments, or learning disabilities like Dyslexia, physical or digital promotional material and event material can be difficult to read. Providing the same information in a word document allows those students to read that information in a way that suits them. For events like a lecture or conference, be sure to have the material in an accessible digital format on offer prior to the event (e.g. transcript of speech/slides).

B) Advertise your event’s accessibility & ask students with requirements to contact you

You should always advertise your event’s accessibility and request that students with requirements contact you, even if some or all aspects of your event are inaccessible. Providing information is simply courteous. Also, it’s impossible to pre-emptively cater to ALL requirements, so encouraging students to contact you allows you to implement additional measures where necessary.

Here’s a default statement that you can simply fill in the blanks:

At [C&S name], we strive to make our events as inclusive as possible. Our event venue is accessible (via ramp/lift), with accessible parking available nearby at [insert location], and accessible unisex bathrooms available within the building/[nearby building]. We do/do not have GF/DF/NF/V food options available. If you have any accessibility requirements, don’t hesitate to email us at [insert email address], or call us at [insert phone number].

4. Communicating appropriately and specific resources

A) Communicate respectfully with students

When communicating with students with specific needs, assume that what they’re saying about their needs is true – and always be respectful. Below is a table of what language is ‘hot’ or ‘not’ when it comes to communicating with students with disabilities.

What’s HOT   What’s NOT
Respect everyone’s way of identifying  – some people use person first language (person with disability) & some prefer identity first language (disabled) Avoid sweeping terms about disability like ‘the blind’ or ‘the deaf’. Never ignore someone’s preference when identifying.
Say ‘has a disability’. People don’t suffer just because they have a disability Don’t say a person is ‘afflicted with’ or ‘suffers from’ a disability. A disability isn’t something to ‘overcome’
Where possible use the appropriate clinical name, such as ‘person with schizophrenia’ or person with mental illness’ Don’t use phrases with negative meanings like ‘crazy’, ‘insane’, ‘lunatic’, ‘mental’ or ‘nuts’
Wheelchairs enable mobility. Say ‘wheelchair users’ A person is not ‘confined to a wheelchair’ or ‘wheelchair bound’

B) Tailor your accessible event planning to different kinds of events

Having a separate safe space – this measure is a good idea for larger events like a ball, party, or music event. This area should be separate but relatively close to the main area where the event is being held. Stock it with a friendly person, and some water/snacks. (will be getting more info on this)

For more info…

If you have any questions about creating accessible events, or suggestions for the guide, please contact the ANUSA Disabilities Officer at