Event Planning

Harvard Kennedy School's Taubman Building on a spring day with blossoming trees at the entrance

When planning events that are open to the public, make sure that your organization’s events are accessible for guests with disabilities. Your organization’s event may require a sign language interpreter, large print handouts, or simply making sure that the room you reserve is easily accessible. Please review the guidelines below with those accessibility needs in mind:

Clearly list contact information - Clearly list on all signs, posters, and event advertisements the contact information for the member of your organization who is aware of and responsible for accessibility concerns: wheelchair accessibility, seating arrangements, audio-visual capabilities, alternative print options, podium access, sign language availability, and elevator access as they relate to your event.

Wheelchair Accessibility - Be mindful of the physical accessibility of the building and specific rooms in which events are held, as well as the accessibility and route to nearby bathrooms. Note the presence/absence and locations of functioning elevators and unobstructed ramps. Also observe entrances and exits to the event, reception, and refreshment areas, as well as proximity of bathrooms to these locations. Consider also the possibility of extra-wide wheelchairs or scooters. 

Wheelchair Rental - There are a number of equipment rental companies in the local area. Guests may choose to rent their own wheelchairs, walkers, scooters, and other equipment from local vendors that provide short term loans for a cost.

Belmont Medical Supply
http://www.belmontmedical.com/
185 Belmont Street, Belmont, MA 02478
617-484-3888

Boston Orthopedic & Respiratory Equipment
http://www.bostonorthoresp.com/
175 Main Street, Charlestown, MA
617-337-5133 or (800) 854-6370

 

Seating - Determine the locations of seats free of obstructions in the line of sight or ambient- noise interference. Try to choose rooms with ramp platforms to most, if not all, parts of the room.

Audio-Visual Equipment - Technological capabilities available include film and video open captioning, FM microphones, printed or print alternative copies of 
dialogue and scripts of media presentations, monitors and boards fully visible from all seats, and amplification appropriate for particular rooms. 

Alternative Print - Consider print alternatives, including handouts in large print or on discs (for persons who have requested this with advance notice). Please also post printed materials electronically, if possible, for reference after your event.

The Podium - It is impossible to assume in advance the needs of all your participants. If the event includes members of the public as presenters or speakers, be sure to consider access to the podium.

Elevator Access - Check that the elevators are in working order the day before and the day of the event. Take into consideration the dimensions of elevators in older buildings.

Restrooms - Assure nearest accessible restrooms are unlocked and located on an accessible route.

Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) – Due to demand, requests for Assistive Listening Devices should be made at least two weeks in advance, if possible. Technology loans may be arranged with sufficient notice through the University Disability Services.  Individuals or programs needing such equipment are encouraged to contact University Disability Services at disabilityservices@harvard.edu or (617) 495-1859.

Sign Language Interpreting and Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) Services - In order to streamline the process to request services, the following Interpreting/CART referral agencies can manage interpreter and CART requests for Harvard affiliates and guests who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

University Disability Services also has a listing of freelance service providers who have previous experience at the university-please contact our office for more information.

Please let University Disability Services know if additional assistance is needed.  

To request services from ASL Services:

  1. Contact ASL Services directly to inform them of the request type:
    • Via email:
    • Via telephone:
      • (407) 518-7900 ext. 334 (for all prescheduled requests
      • (407) 931-8050 (pager) (for same day/next day service)
      • (407) 518-7903 (fax)
      • (877) HAVE-VRI (same day/next day video interpreting requests)
      • Via telephone: (407) 518-7900 ext. 334 (for all prescheduled requests)
  2. ASL Services will guide you through the request process and answer any questions you may have.
  3. When requesting services please be prepared to answer whether parking, mileage or transportation will be paid for the service provider.
  4. Please ensure that you are aware of the details of the cancellation policy. 

Please contact University Disability Services for contractual information.  After services are provided, ASL Services will send the invoice directly to you or your designee.  Kindly look over all invoices for accuracy and forward to the appropriate office within your school for payment processing.  Should you have any questions about an invoice please feel free to contact ASL Services directly.

To request services from Hands in Motion:

  1. Contact Hands in Motion directly to inform them of the request type:
  2. Hands in Motion will guide you through the request process and answer any questions you may have.
  3. When requesting services please be prepared to answer whether parking, mileage or transportation will be paid for the service provider.
  4. Please ensure that you are aware of the details of the cancellation policy. 

Please contact University Disability Services for contractual information.  After services are provided, Hands in Motion will send the invoice directly to you or your designee.  Kindly look over all invoices for accuracy and forward to the appropriate office within your school for payment processing.  Should you have any questions about an invoice please feel free to contact Hands in Motion directly.

To request services from Partners Interpreting (PI):

  1. Contact PI directly to inform them of the request type
  2. Complete the PI Request Form for event details.
  3. PI will guide you through the request process and answer any questions you may have. 
  4. When requesting services please be prepared to answer whether parking, mileage or transportation will be paid for the service provider.
  5. Please ensure that you are aware of the details of the cancellation policy. 
  6. After services are provided, PI will send the invoice directly to you or your designee.  Kindly look over all invoices for accuracy and forward to the appropriate office within your school for payment processing.  Should you have any questions about an invoice please feel free to contact PI directly.