Planning Your Event

At UMBC, we are committed to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment for all members of our campus community and our visitors. Here are some resources to help event planners keep inclusivity and accessibility in mind.

Consider potential audience/guest members


Religion, ethnicity, traditions, & culture

Gender equality & intersectional feminism

Age & experience

Socioeconomic status

Disabilities or impairments

Identify Event Objectives and Event Outcomes

Why are you hosting this event, and for whom?

Clearly outlining the event objective and outcomes provides useful insight into event planning before, execution of, and assessment after your event. While these may change and develop throughout the planning process, the earlier that they are developed, the more opportunity to align these goals with your event format and logistics. It also helps to check if certain components of your event are necessary or even advantageous!

For information on developing effective, achievable event objectives and desired outcomes, please review this article from the socialtables website: How to Define Event Goals and Objectives That Make an Impact

Identify Date(s) and Time(s)

When will this start and end? Is it one day long, or multiple days long?

Consider the availability of your target audience, including spiritual, religious, and cultural holidays and celebrations. Also, consider brainstorming backup dates for your event. Space on campus is limited, and having flexibility helps to hedge your bets.

Identify Event Format

Is this event in-person, virtual, or hybrid?

What type of event is this? A conference? A research symposium? A networking social?

There are countless event formats out there, and it’s important to clearly identify the format, or combination of formats, for your event to clarify logistics including location, resources, and staffing.

 Identify Event Location(s) or Virtual Event Software

Where on campus would you like to host this event? What virtual event platform will you use?

If the event is in-person, consider the geographical location(s) and features of the location(s). Some key features to consider include:

    • space capacity
    • nearest restrooms
      • nearest gender-neutral restrooms
      • nearest restrooms for individuals with disabilities
    • proximity to elevators
    • proximity to entrances/exits
    • audio-visual capabilities
    • hearing-assistive technology
    • closed captioning
    • space layout options
    • navigability of location (distance between furniture)
    • entrance / egress option
    • accessible parking
    • clearly-marked signage

Familiarizing yourself with the spaces available on campus prior to planning your events can reduce confusion and speed up the reservation process. If you would like insight into which locations might best fit your event needs, please feel free to contact Event & Conference Services at 410-455-3615 or the Coordinator for Departmental Event Advising at 410-455-3621!

Submit a 25Live Event Request (in-person event)

All events on UMBC’s campus require a 25Live confirmation. This is one of the most crucial phases of the event planning process for in-person, on-campus events. After your request is submitted, Event & Conference Services will review all of the information you have provided, assign any available and appropriate requested locations, and follow-up via email with next steps.

Please do not advertise the location of your event until the location has been assigned in 25Live.  Event & Conference Services strives to assign requested locations; however, space availability on campus is limited. As such, Event & Conference Services may not be able to assign the requested location for your event request. In this case, the Event & Conference Services team will work with you to identify an appropriate alternative location.

25Live can be accessed at

Create a Google Calendar invitation (departmental groups)

Include event details, including video-conferencing information and directions if applicable. Standardizing invitations helps ensure that all participants receive the same information, and the Google Calendar invitation can always be edited later!

Submit any additional requests needed (if applicable)

This may include, but is not limited to, Catering, Sign Shop, Student Work Force, Live-Streaming, Closed Captioning, Interpretive Services, Hearing Assistive Technology, and Temporary Gender Neutral Bathrooms.  Most of these requests require a 25Live reservation prior to submission, and all service requests require lead-time to fulfill. Because of this, proactivity is incredibly important!

For Interpretive Services and Hearing Assistive Technology, please contact Student Disability Services at least two (2) weeks prior to your event / activity. The form linked here can be used to request services. 

For Sign Shop, Student Workforce, or Grounds please submit an AIM request to Facilities Management at least ten (10) business days prior to your event / activity. AIM can be accessed using this link. Event & Conference Services would also be happy to submit these requests on your behalf to centralize communications, just be sure to ask your event advisor! 

For Housekeeping, Closed Captioning, and other services, please contact Event & Conference Services at least ten (10) business days prior to your event / activity by emailing or contacting your event advisor.

Create a marketing plan

What information are you sharing? To whom are these advertisements targeted? Where will you share information and what format(s) of marketing will you use? How long will the advertising run? What is your budget for advertising?

Make sure that your marketing materials are accessible to and inclusive of all members of your target audience. Consider using accessible PDFs if marketing electronically!

Contact commonvision within Campus Life for information!

Order / create any marketing materials

Post to myUMBC

Post to Events Hub

Ask participants, or provide participants a way to indicate, if they require or would like accommodations

This can be included in your marketing materials, RSVP information, or even your email signature! If you can’t explicitly ask your participants if they require accommodations, consider adding a sentence to the end of your marketing materials that states “To request accommodations or for questions about accessibility, please contact…”

Accommodations can include but are not limited to, dietary restrictions, accessible parking, captioning, hearing-assistive technology, interpretive services, reserved first-row seating, large print, wheelchair access, scent-free room, lactation room, and gender-neutral restrooms.

Cornell University has created and made available an “Accessible Meeting and Event Checklist” which includes how to form an inclusive “Welcome Message” or create an accommodations checklist.

Provide day-of instructions and information

Assign a point of contact who is prepared to assist guests with accommodations at the event.

Where should participants park? How do they get to your event space or video-conferencing link? Is food or drink permitted? Will food be provided? Who should they contact day-of if they require assistance?

Providing participants with clear, accessible information and instructions help clarify confusion and increases the comfort of many event participants. Consider using accessible PDF format and including image descriptions for electronic materials.

Campus maps can be found online.

Write remarks (if applicable)

Welcome your guests! Consider using non-gendered terms to address your guests, like “Welcome and thank you to our esteemed guests” instead of “Welcome ladies and gentlemen”. During introductions, ask all presenters and participants to state their pronouns using the following format, “My name is Jason Fowler, and my pronouns are he, him, his.”. This can help promote inclusivity and welcome your guests. Consider including a land acknowledgment like the following: “UMBC is located on the tribal lands of the Indigenous Piscataway Conoy tribe.”

Create presentation materials (if applicable)

Presentation materials are a terrific way to create and control the environment of your event!

If Event & Conference Services is providing technical support for your event, please be sure to share any presentation materials with your event advisor at least 2 business days prior to your event. This will allow our team to pre-load and format your materials to avoid the dreaded “technical difficulties” during your event!

Create handout materials (if applicable)

Handouts are great ways to share resources or connect with your participants. Whether it’s a program for a performance, or a handbook full of resources, handouts are incredibly useful. Just like presentations, there are plenty of resources for making handouts more accessible!

The National Center on Disability and Access to Education provides useful tools to create resources in a variety of file formats.

Purchase decorations (if applicable)

Delegate day-of duties

Who is responsible for…

    • contacting service providers or contracted participants (Event & Conference Services, Catering, Facilities Management, etc.) should one need to contact them day-of your event?
    • greeting guests?
    • serving food?
    • decorating?
    • prepping presentation materials?
    • cleaning?

Be sure that service providers are aware of accessible needs so they are prepared to accommodate and assist

Decorate the space (if applicable)

Just like a presentation, decorations can help provide a specific atmosphere for your event. Just be sure that your decorations don’t impede the navigability of the space!

Host your event!

All your hard work has come together! Now it’s time to make a lasting impression for your guests.  Here    are a few tips to keep in mind for an inclusive and welcoming event:

    • Awareness of diversity and culture
    • Provide trigger warnings (addictions, PTSD)
    • Be cautious of how you use descriptive words or adjectives
    • Provide translators or technology for individuals who speak different first languages
    • Speak clearly and slowly
    • Speak professionally, avoid negative or derogatory language
    • Avoid stereotypes and myths
    • Don’t make assumptions
    • Use language relevant to the context
    • Use simple language; avoid acronyms, jargon, and idioms
    • Be cautious with the use of sarcasm

Clean-up and remove decorations.

If you have ABM scheduled, they’ll take care of the deep cleaning. It’s always wise to clean any trash or food waste after your event, though. This will help decrease the amount of time ABM spends cleaning your space(s), and may even save you a few dollars when the housekeeping bill is finalized!

Send feedback surveys to participants

Quick, concise surveys are a great way to seek feedback from your participants! You can ask how the event went and even integrate some questions regarding your learning outcomes.

Looking for general tips?