Want to Plan More Inclusive Meetings? Try These Tips

Participants at a meeting

Sometimes inclusion means more than a welcoming smile. 

Are there food options available for people with allergies or religious requirements? Will individuals with trouble hearing be able to follow along with a video? Will nursing mothers know where to find lactation rooms? 

Together, experts from the Office for Institutional Equity and other university entities developed a list of tips to help plan meetings and events that are more inclusive for your audience. Here are a few:

 Schedule carefully, considering holidays and logistics 
Avoid conflicts with major cultural and religious holidays by consulting the Office of the Provost calendar. Avoid spaces with ongoing construction, new carpeting, or recently used chemicals by consulting with facilities managers.
Make presentations and videos accessible
Provide presenters with guidelines for making content accessible, including videos, PowerPoints, Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and/or American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation, and handouts. Costs associated with providing such accommodations should not be passed on to the individuals or groups who have requested or are expected to use these services. Request that presenters start with a summary of what the presentation will cover.
Invite participants to identify needed accommodations
Include information about proactive measures in all event advertising and invite participants to identify accommodation needs, including food allergies and chemical sensitivities, before the event via an email contact or Qualtrics form. Promote and advertise using a variety of media: email (including text format), social media, website, posters, flyers, etc.
Ensure available restrooms for all
Make sure accessible and single stall restrooms and lactation areas are available by consulting campus lists of gender-inclusive restrooms and lactation rooms.
Provide a range of food and drink options
Select options that includes vegan/vegetarian, gluten free, healthy, and Kosher/Halal options, and ensure that these options are clearly labeled and either individually packaged or offered in a way that avoids cross-contamination. Serve non-alcoholic beverages in a similar style as alcoholic drinks. Provide water and make straws available.

View the full list of tips and find additional resources to help you plan. 

If you have questions or concerns about complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act or other civil rights issues, contact the Office for Institutional Equity