Planning an event demonstrates MIT’s capacity for inclusion. Certain practices help bring varied perspectives to the planning and decision-making process and ensure that events are equitable and easily accessible to all.

When planning teams are more aware of the needs of a variety of guests—those who have disabilities (including emotional, cognitive, and sensory needs), parenting and dependent care responsibilities, religious observation commitments, financial constraints, and cultural and social preferences—the results support the overall experience and wellbeing of all who attend.

MIT planners should review the following recommendations and best practices:


  • Create an event planning team with diverse perspectives and lived experiences (a diversity of genders and gender identities, cultures, races, access and accommodation needs, levels of authority, etc.).
  • Designate an individual to act as a single point of contact for access and accommodation requests.
  • Include costs of accessibility accommodations, inclusive catering options, etc. Many accommodation needs can be provided by the MIT Disabilities and Medical Leaves Office (for staff and faculty) and Disability and Access Services (for students).
  • When selecting event dates and times, avoid conflicts with MIT’s academic enterprise, religious and cultural practices, and other days of observance. See MIT’s observed religious holidays calendar and its academic calendar for details.
  • Request an ASL (American Sign Language) interpreter or CART (Communication Access Real-Time Transcription) services through the HR Service Request form for staff events, or Disability and Access Services for student ones.
  • For virtual meetings and events, be sure to set your default Zoom settings to allow for ASL and other language interpretation (this cannot be done during the meeting).
  • Select venues that are accessible, with access to elevators, restrooms, ramps, entrances without stairs, and with wheelchair user seating.
  • Have designated reserved seating available, being mindful of space and ease of accessibility for those in need (attendees who are pregnant, those with disabilities or service animals, older adults, etc.).
  • Additional access-related resources

Promotion and communication

  • Ask attendees to declare an access need in the event invitation and during event registration.
  • Provide participants with an opportunity to describe any dietary restrictions during event registration and be sensitive to religious or cultural considerations (Halal, Kosher, etc.) when catering your event.
  • Acknowledge receipt of access and accommodation requests.
  • Communicate all details related to access and accommodations on invitations, web pages, registration forms, flyers, and MIT Events Calendar submissions.

During your event (in-person and virtual)

  • Identify a designated point of contact to manage requests and ensure attendees are connected to accommodation support on event day.
  • Remind participants to state their name when speaking.
  • Use microphones during non-presentation portions of speaker events so remote participants and interpreters can hear audience questions.
  • Enable display of closed captions and audio descriptions for any presentation videos.
  • For virtual meetings
    • Enable sign language interpretation (or spoken language interpretation) and live captioning features on Zoom. (Note: enabling auto captions does not make a video accessible as these tend to be inconsistently accurate).
    • Identify someone who will share verbally what is in the chat periodically as well as describe what is on slides; for smaller virtual group meetings, reserve an Owl so remote participants can see the faces of who is speaking. (Note: Rooms equipped with good AV for hybrid meetings—“Zoom rooms”—for the MIT community can be booked through Atlas.)

After the event

  • Share recording after a virtual or recorded event and, if possible, slides. All publicly posted MIT videos are required to be captioned. For more information, please see MIT Accessibility and Captioning.
  • Send a post-event survey.
  • Hold an after-action review meeting with your planning committee.

Additional resources