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. 

We invite questions, concerns and comments regarding accessibility at any point before, during or after the convocation ceremony.  Your input and feedback can be provided to the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112; csdo@sfu.ca) or to the front desk staff at Student Central (MBC3000).

In addition to accessible parking for people with disabilities, SFU offers: 

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

The Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112, MBC 1250) is also available to answer questions and help resolve any issues that may arise. 

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 in real-time on large viewing screens on each side of the stage and/or accessible on personal computing devices or phones, via a link which will be provided in the program or  announced at the event.

A variety of procession routes

The University has identified several different routes to address considerations such as inclement weather, diverse accessibility needs, etc. For more information on the route options, please contact the Centre for Students with Disabilities (CSD) as early as possible to confirm your needs and make arrangements to ensure your full participation in the ceremony. 

Wheelchair loans for guests

You can make arrangements for the short-term loan of a wheelchair by contacting the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112), which is located in the Maggie Benston Centre (MBC 1250). 

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. If the format of the form presents a barrier, please make your needs known to the staff at the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112 or csdo@sfu.ca). 

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 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 in advance.

Where the form has not been completed, please make your needs known to the University via staff at the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112 or MBC 1250).  We will make all reasonable efforts to arrange necessary access (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 Students with Disabilities (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 Students with Disabilities (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: Do NOT call 911 as this may delay response.

Question, concerns, comments?

We invite questions, concerns and comments regarding accessibility at any point before, during or after the convocation ceremony.  Your input and feedback can be provided to the Centre for Students with Disabilities (778-782-3112; csdo@sfu.ca).