Accessibility at convocation

SFU is committed to providing an inclusive and accessible environment to all who work, study, or visit on campus. We strive to foster positive spaces where all Convocation attendees feel included, understood, appreciated and respected throughout their time on campus.

Guests who require mobility assistance (e.g. close parking, seating for wheelchairs, etc.) should consider arriving early.

 If you are a graduating student who requires accessibility accommodations for your convocation, please complete the Application for Convocation Assistance form no later than a week before convocation.  We will do our best to consider and address your needs.

Support available

Ushers and other staff

A team of ushers will be available to assist graduands and their friends and families during the ceremonies. Ushers can be identified by the black gowns and lanyards that indicate Convocation Usher. Placed in strategic locations throughout the campus, ushers will be able to provide directions and information to address most routine needs. You can also find general information and assistance at the front desk of Student Central, located immediately to the right (south side) when you enter the Convocation Mall level of the Maggie Benston Centre. The front desk staff will be available to:

  • provide information about inclusive and accessible campus features (e.g., nearest washrooms, accessible routes to other parts of campus, loans of equipment)
  • connect attendees with on-site assistance

Captioning of the event (delivered via screens and/or directly to devices)

Convocation ceremonies will feature captioning services (Communication Access Real-time Translation or CART), with the live transcript provided

A variety of procession routes

The University has identified several different routes to address considerations such as inclement weather, diverse accessibility needs, etc.  If you have concerns about the main procession route, which includes stairs and elevation changes between buildings, please indicate your preference for an alternate procession route in the Application for Convocation Assistance form. us know your concerns ) as early as possible to  help us ensure your full participation in the ceremony.

Accessible parking

Elderly and disabled guests may park in Central Parkade under Convocation Mall (there is an elevator in the Maggie Benston Centre). If you need a special parking space for anyone with a mobility impairment, identify yourself to SFU security at our Information Centre, noted on our convocation parking map.

Requesting accessibility services

How to request accessibility services

If you are a student with a disability and require assistance for a ceremony, please complete the Application for Convocation Assistance form. If the format of the form presents a barrier, please make your needs known to the staff at the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or 

Deadline to request accessibility services for Convocation

We ask that attendees submit requests for accessibility services (captioning, ASL interpretation, etc.) as soon as the need is known, so that there is adequate time to arrange services.  All requests should be submitted at least one week in advance, but greater lead time is required for services such as CART or sign language interpreting.

If you require the presence of a personal support worker/attendant in order to participate in the graduation ceremony

We ask that all graduands with questions about personal support workers or attendants complete the Application for Convocation Assistance form in advance.

Where the form has not been completed, please make your needs known to the University via staff at the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112 or MBC 1250). We will make all reasonable efforts to arrange necessary access for you and your personal support worker (e.g., provide additional seating and/or authorize the personal support worker to accompany the student across the stage).

University policy regarding service animals and comfort animals at Convocation

Only certified service/guide animals may accompany students with disabilities to cross the stage. No other animals or pets are permitted at the Convocation ceremony.

Quick answers to common questions

How can I access Convocation Mall if I'm arriving via transit?

If you are arriving via transit bus, please offload at the Transportation Centre at the centre of campus and cross over to the island.  There is an elevator on the southeast corner to take you to the Convocation Mall (3000 level).  When you exit from the elevator, go left through the automatic doors and then proceed down the corridor to Convocation Mall.

Where are the closest accessible washrooms?

The nearest single-unit, accessible washrooms are available in the Maggie Benston Centre (all levels), in the Academic Quadrangle (AQ) on the 2000 and 3000 levels, and at the west end of Convocation Mall just beyond the fountain.

There is also a large accessible washroom in the North Concourse of the AQ (Room 3137) which accepts a Hoyer lift attachment and includes other accessibility features.  Should you need access to this room, please make your need known to an usher or contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112) who can facilitate access.

Can I get assistance with putting on or removing my graduation regalia? 

Volunteers are available to help all graduands prepare for the ceremony.  Please feel free to request assistance from the volunteers, who will work with you to appropriately address your needs.  If you have attendant care and require a private space for changing, there is a large fully accessible restroom on the North Concourse of the Academic Quadrangle that may be appropriate.  Ceremony staff can provide access as needed. 

Are there terrain considerations? 

The main campus of SFU is located on the top of Burnaby Mountain. Therefore, there are numerous elevation changes between buildings which require use of stairs or elevators.  Should you have questions regarding the best route to take to attend any elements of the ceremony or event, please contact the Centre for Accessible Learning (778-782-3112). 

What are the crowds like for the event?

The Convocation ceremonies are well attended and it is not unusual to have upwards of 1,500 people in and near the event.  We make all reasonable efforts to organize and support the event with this in mind.

Where can I find quiet space, if needed?

The W.A.C. Bennett Library is immediately adjacent on the North side of Convocation Mall and is accessible to the public.

What should I do if I have a medical emergency while at the event?

If you encounter an emergency, you should report it to one of the ushers, who will be dressed in black gowns and carry event lanyards identifying them as associated with the event.  Campus Security can provide first aid 24/7.  During business hours Health and Counselling Services will also provide medical aid.  For major medical emergencies, call 778-782-4500 and provide information about: the incident location, the nature of the injury, and whether an ambulance is required.

Note: Anyone calling 911 for an ambulance should also contact, or have someone else contact, Campus Security (778-782-4500) to aid in a quicker response.

Question, concerns, comments?

We invite questions, concerns and comments regarding accessibility at any point before, during or after the convocation ceremony.

For graduating students, your input and feedback can be provided to

For guests, your input and feedback can be provided to