All members of the Cornell community have a shared responsibility and opportunity to ensure the accessibility of our programs, services, and activities to all people and for their diverse needs. In order to create a just and sustainable future, every person must have the opportunity to grow, learn, and thrive on this planet.  When we design our buildings, or when we design our websites and events, a sustainable approach includes design which ensures accessibility for people with disabilities or different abilities. Accessible design benefits us all, ensuring greater participation and access to our world for people with varying cognitive, physical, and emotional experiences.

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Accessibility & Disability is included in 4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more about the global commitment to sustainable development which includes all people and all abilities. 

How you can ensure an accessible campus:

  1. Work with Cornell's accessibility staff and teams: They are equipped to help you understand the scope of accessibility challenges and possibilities.

  2. Use People First Language: Terms such as “wheelchair bound” and “handicapped” are examples of outdated terms that present disability in negative terms.  Avoid negative words like “bound to” or “stricken with.” Instead, use People First language such as ‘people with disabilities’ or ‘person with a wheelchair.’ People First Language and tips on communicating with and about people with disabilities.

  3. Use these tools to learn more about making technology accessible:

    1. WebAIM Quick Reference: Web Accessibility Principles

    2. WebAIM Quick Reference: Testing Web Content for Accessibility

    3. WebAIM's WCAG 2.0 Checklist for HTML documents

    4. NCDAE Cheatsheet: Word 2016 (Mac)

    5. NCDAE Cheatsheet: PowerPoint 2016 (Mac)

    6. WAVE and WAVE Browser Extensions

    7. WebAIM Contrast Checker

Accessibility Resources at Cornell University


Accessibility Information

Information broadly on accessibility resources across the University, for all constituents

Workplace Accommodations and FAQ

List of policies and procedures for accommodating all faculty and staff in the workplace.



Student Disability Services (SDS)

Student learning and access needs, accommodations, and supporting for coordination with faculty & staff




Student Disability Services to Planning for Accessibility

Guide for event hosts to follow in order to ensure both the event itself and the website are accessible.




Sensus Access

(Free to Cornell) Convert documents into accessible formats including audio books, e-books, and digital Braille; convert image-only PDF files, JPG pictures and Microsoft PowerPoint presentations into more accessible formats.

Assistive Listening Systems

Installed in over 200 conference rooms, lecture halls, and classrooms on campus, ALS’s are amplifiers that bring sound directly into the ear.

Assistive Technology

Any piece of equipment, software/hardware, or product that is used to increase or maintain functional capabilities of persons with disabilities.

Web Accessibility

Guide for developing websites that are accessible by all individuals, including older persons, persons in rural areas, and persons in developing countries.

Accessibility Resources in the Community and Beyond

Ithaca & Region

Franziska Racker Centers

Supporting people with disabilities and their families to lead fulfilling lives by providing opportunities to learn and be connected with others.

Finger Lakes Independence Center

Empowering all people with disabilities while creating an inclusive society through the elimination of social and architectural barriers.

Recreation Support Services

RSS is a section of the Ithaca Youth Bureau, helping individuals achieve their goals for happiness and well-being by creating leisure opportunities for active participation, making friends, fostering independence, and community inclusion.

Challenge Workforce Solutions

A nonprofit organization that is committed to creating pathways to employment for people with disabilities or barriers.


State & Federal


Department of Social Services

Providing benefits and services to sustain families and individuals and to assist them in achieving independence.

Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)

Offering an array of services and supports to help people with developmental disabilities live in the home of their choice; find employment and other meaningful activities in which to participate; build relationships in the community, and experience health and wellness.