2017 Penguicon Accessibility

Penguicon 2017 wants to make sure that our convention is an awesome and accessible one for all. In order to ensure an accessible convention, we have created a Convention Committee (ConCom) Accessibility Department, and will have onsite Accessibility Staff during the convention weekend. If at any time you have anything you wish to discuss, contribute, or inquire about regarding accessibility at Penguicon, you can email [email protected] , [email protected] , or stop by the Accessibility Desk located outside of the Algonquin Ballrooms, near Ops. (During the convention)

Accessibility Improvements

In order to remove barriers, Penguicon 2017 is investing in various accessibility devices, or making changes to previous accessibility standards. While we are aware we may not cover every accessibility issue, we are working hard to remove as many barriers as possible. We are 200% open to any input you may have.

Accessibility Desk:

  • Located on the first floor of The Westin, outside of the Algonquin Ballrooms, near Ops and Registration, attendees will find our new Accessibility Desk.


  • All Public Venue hallways will have blue tape on the floor to indicate Traffic Zones. We ask all attendees to look down and not stop to talk in Traffic Zones.
  • We are moving our Maker Market Vendors into a Ballroom in order to remove congested hallways.  


  • On every floor of The Westin, one elevator will be marked as our Accessible Elevator. There will be a sign outside the accessible elevator on each floor, and in the elevator itself. We ask every attendee to step out and allow anyone with a mobility device first access.

Accessible Seating:

  • Every official Penguicon Programing/Event Room will have blue taped zones for Accessible Seating.

Braille Labels:

  • We will be utilizing a Braille Label Maker to augment Official Signage at Penguicon.

Assistive Listening Devices:

  • Penguicon is purchasing several Personal Assistive Listening Devices for those attendees with hearing impairments. These will be available for check-out at Ops.

American Sign Language Interpreters:

  • Our Opening and Closing Ceremonies will have a certified ASL Interpreter.
  • We have budgeted for a total of $1000.00 to hire ASL Interpreters for panels and opening/closing ceremonies. If you would like to request an interpreter please email [email protected] before March 15, 2017.

Mobility Devices:

Located at Ops, any attendee may come check out any of the following mobility devices:

  • One Manual Wheelchair
  • 1 Extra Wide, Heavy Duty, Rollator Walker
  • 1 Cane

Mobility Equipment Rental:

  • Penguicon 2017 has partnered with Scootaround Mobility Rentals to provide easy access to our attendees who may need to rental personal transportation devices. Please visit our Penguicon Scootaround Portal to arrange for your rental.

Large Print Schedule Books:

  • We will have numerous Large Print versions of our Penguicon Schedule Book available at Ops by request.

Guidebook App:

  • Penguicon 2017 is providing a Guidebook App to all attendees. This app will allow for digital viewing of Penguicon 2017 Schedule, Souvenir Book Info, Maps and more. A link to our Guidebook App will be placed here when it becomes available.

Dedicated Reset Room:

  • Located on the 3rd floor of the Westin, we are dedicating one room to be a Reset room. Lights will be low, Quiet will be requested, and we will have various items available for attendees to take a moment and enjoy while resettling themselves. This room will be open from 3:00 – 9:00pm Friday, 7:00am – 9:00pm Saturday, and 7:00am – 4:00pm Sunday.

Service Animal Accommodations:

  • Penguicon 2017 has decided that any Service Animal attending our con is honorary Penguicon Staff. We will be posting the specific location of our Service Animal Pit Stop, where your service animal can find a bowl of water, or the information of where our Service Animal Outdoor facilities are located.

Knowing that further, detailed information may be needed for an attendee to be able to make educated decisions about attending our convention, we are providing detailed information below.

Event Location:

This year’s Penguicon will be held at The Westin Southfield Detroit, in Southfield, MI. and in the adjoining Executive Meeting Center. (The EMC)  

The Westin Southfield Detroit
1500 Town Center
Southfield, MI. 48705

The Westin and The EMC are an ADA Compliant hotel and meeting center. To access any official event or function in either space, there are stairways as well as elevators. Each public restroom has an accessible stall in them. All guest entrances to The Westin and The EMC are accessible entrances.

  1. Ground Transportation

    1. ABC Transportation offers vans specifically designed for persons requiring wheelchair accessible service with advance notice. To make an Online Reservation visit here. To Request a Transportation Quote click here.  The phone number to call them 24 hours a day is 1- 800-563-4222.
    2. The Westin Southfield has a very large entry space with automatic doors, a roof overhanging the pick-up location, and accessible sidewalk space for waiting for transportation.
    3. The closest SMART Bus stop is at 10 Mile Rd and Evergreen, which is across the parking lot, just south of the hotel.
  2. Hotel Details:

    1. The Westin Southfield has a very large front entrance with automatic double doors. Meets the 32” door width requirement.
    2. All guest entrances are accessible.
    3. The hotel offers accessible parking spaces to either side of the front entrance.
    4. Public spaces in the hotel (restaurants, bars, etc.) are wheelchair-accessible.
      The hotel’s official public spaces are all on the ground floor and accessible with a wheelchair.  Our hospitality suite is on the second floor, available by elevator.
    5. Hotel has an adequate number of wheelchair-accessible sleeping rooms that include roll-in showers and/or low tubs with ADA-compliant grab bars.
      The hotel has three accessible rooms. The doors to both the room and the bathroom are 33 inches. The commode is 18 inches high, grab bars are accessible and in an appropriate horizontal placement. The shower has a low threshold to enter. The showers feature a built in shower bench attached to opposite end of shower from shower controls. The sink is a wheelchair accessible pedestal style sink.
    6. The Westin has one restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner during the event. As well as a Starbucks.
    7. Tables in food service areas are less than 34” high.
    8. Restaurants within walking distance of the hotel include Kerby’s Koney Island, Fuddruckers, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and Tim Hortons.  
    9. The Westin’s room signs and elevators have raised or Braille characters.
    10. Exits are clearly identified and accessible.
    11. Fire and emergency alarms have both audible and visual signals.
      All meeting rooms has both audible and visual emergency devices.
    12. There is an evacuation plan for persons with physical, hearing, and visual disabilities. The Westin prints out a list of occupied accessibility rooms daily, and in the event of any emergency they will assist as needed.
    13. The Westin has two TDD portable systems available for use.
    14. Water is available in cups and pitchers throughout the hotel, and someone from Operations would be happy to assist anyone who requests help getting water. We believe the heights of the water fountains are of accessible height.
  1. Public Venue Details:

    1. All event-specific functions are in the Westin or the EMC, an accessible connected, adjacent building with the exception of our Geeks with Guns event, held at a local Firing Range.
    2. All official Penguicon events and spaces are accessible via the public elevators.
    3. Public facilities (rest rooms, powder rooms) are wheelchair-accessible.
      The hotel provides one accessible stall per public restroom.
    4. The Westin and EMC entrances and architecture (ballrooms, meeting rooms, etc.) are wheelchair-accessible.  In the case of multi-tiered spaces, ADA-compliant ramps or lifts are provided, or access to the front of the room is provided via alternate entrances.
    5. Venue room signs and elevators have raised or Braille characters.
    6. Exits are clearly identified and accessible.
    7. Fire and emergency alarms have both audible and visual signals.
  1. Panels and Programming:

    1. Should we decide to use a stage, stages and raised platforms are wheelchair-accessible via lifts or ADA-compliant ramps.
    2. Seats at the front of the room are available visually-impaired and hearing-impaired attendees.  Seats on either side of “center” in that section are available for lip-readers so that panelists’ faces are not hidden by microphones.
    3. Audience seating includes spaces for wheelchairs and scooters. In large rooms, several spaces at various points in several locations.
    4. We will be asking all panelists that all video content they provide is closed captioned.
    5. One or more assistive listening devices are available.
    6. An ASL interpreter may be available to sign the panel. Wherever possible, we will try to indicate panels with interpreters in our schedule information.
    7. Lighting is at an adequate level to ensure hearing impaired attendees can read lips or clearly see the ASL interpreter.
    8. For panels that include one or more hearing-impaired panelists, the moderator and the panel(s) meet prior to the panel to work out how best to accommodate the panelist. When our schedule is released to the panelists, we will be asking them at that time if they have any accessibility needs.  We will work with them individually to make sure everyone has the best experience possible.
  2. Mental and Emotional accommodations

    1. Although Penguicon makes accommodations to address attendee’s mental and emotional health, we strongly recommend that each attendee attend to their own mental and emotional health over the course of penguicon.
    2. Penguicon offers Interaction Buttons to indicate your level of desired engagement. These buttons will be available at Registration and Ops.
    3. Penguicon is offering quiet rooms to reset in. These rooms are to be used to relax and give yourself quiet mental space.
  3. Miscellaneous

    1. In the event an attendee or guest with disabilities requires a caretaker/assistant, the caretaker/assistant’s registration is comped.
    2. Service animals are permitted in all hotel and convention spaces.
    3. In our Consuite we offer a variety of foods, some packaged, and some (like fruit) that are not. We will make every effort to mark non-obvious food that may affect common allergies. Consuite will have product labels and you may ask Consuite staff for help in determining the ingredients.
    4. Consuite will provide a table for gluten free food.


This Accessibility document was assembled using the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America’s Accessibility Checklist for SFWA spaces and Penguicon 2016’s Accessibility policy in order to better acquaint you with Penguicon’s hotel and event.  We acknowledge it is not exhaustive nor perfect,  and does not cover every accessibility need. We are open to any input you may have.  You may contact our Accessibility Liaison through [email protected] or contact our chair, Cylithria Dubois, at [email protected] with any additional questions you have, and we will update this document accordingly.