Planning Activities and Events

Reserving Space  |  Event Approval  |  Alcohol  |  Food  |  Inviting Speakers
Freedom of Expression  |  Protests  | Accessibility  |  Publicity 
Screening Films  | Contracts

Event Planning

Only recognized student organizations in good standing with the University may host events on campus.

Restricted Dates

Permission will not be given to hold concerts, dramatic performances, debates, meetings, rallies, contests of any kind, etc, during examination periods.  In addition, restrictions may be placed on events during reading day if they interfere with residential areas and libraries where exam preparation is underway.


Student organizations are required to set dates for parties and other events on campus. Leaders are expected to use the Engage calendar to identify acceptable dates.  If too many events are proposed for the same day, the dean’s office will determine priorities based on purpose of the event, congruence with University mission, and quality planning.

Reserving Space on Campus

Recognized student organizations in good standing may reserve rooms on campus for their activities and events. These room reservation privileges are non-transferable. Therefore, non-University organizations and individuals may not hold events on campus by using a student organization as a vehicle to stage an event on campus property or to reserve a campus room for a function (i.e. running a workshop about the organization or product, or hosting an event aimed exclusively at recruitment). 

Information about how to reserve a room can be found on the Sewanee calendars website or directly by using the room scheduling system (EMS). Organizations that do not abide by these regulations will have their room reservation privileges suspended.

Event Registration and Approval

Depending on the complexity of your event, you may need to be connected to various resources, both on and off campus.  These resources and offices include Sewanee Police Department, Academic Technology Services, Facility Management, and the Dean of Students Office, among others.  The event registration form on Engage will connect you with the necessary resources and advises you with various aspects of event management, including but not limited to social host guidelines, publicity, contracts, and appropriate staffing levels.

Your organizational activity should be registered at least two weeks in advance, and preferably a month, if it meets any of the following criteria:

  • Attendance of 100 or more;

  • Admission or program fees will be charged;

  • Alcohol will be served;

  • It will occur between 10pm and 2am on a Friday or Saturday;

  • It is a fundraiser;

  • Cash will change hands;

  • Anything, including food, will be sold;

  • The venue is outdoors;

  • A raffle will be held.

Events are registered by filling out an Event Registration Form on Engage.  No advertising is permitted until your event registration is reviewed and approved.  If you have any questions about registering your organizational activity, please contact the Student Activities Coordinator, at or at ext. 1386.


Alcohol use must be controlled  at events that are open to the entire campus community, especially if the activity is in an outdoor location. Student organizations that wish to have alcohol at events open only to members of their organization or invited guests must have a social host and follow the Social Host Policy. Other exceptions to this policy will be considered on a case-by-case basis, depending on event plans. Student organizations should complete the Event Registration Form to receive permission for the inclusion of alcohol at the event.


Student organizations may wish to have food at events. Please keep in mind that any food can potentially cause a foodborne illness. Foods high in protein—meat, fish, poultry, shellfish, cheeses, eggs, milk—and carbohydrates can support rapid bacterial growth if they are not prepared or served at a proper temperature. The situation can be made even more hazardous if a food handler fails to properly wash his/her hands, sanitize cutting boards, or uses contaminated utensils.

As these conditions can present a serious risk of liability for a student organization, the Dean of Students Office recommends that student organizations serve food prepared by licensed food service establishments or those that are pre-packaged.  Organizations may choose to serve homemade food at events limited to their membership, although they take on a significant liability in doing so.

Food Safety Resources

If you have questions regarding food safety, please refer to the Tennessee Food Codes for guidelines.

Catering Resources

Could add local Catering Options and Sewanee Dining

Inviting Speakers, Guests and Honorees

When extending an invitation to any speaker, award recipient, or guest, it is important that a student organization accurately represent its relationship with the University.  Therefore, from the initial correspondence onward, organizations should clearly articulate that they are a student organization at the University of the South.

Freedom of Expression

As an institution of higher learning dedicated to research, teaching, and service, the University is firmly committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression, and will maintain the conditions of freedom of inquiry, thought, and discussion on campus. The education of Sewanee students is guided by the University’s commitment to the principles of open communication, open inquiry, nondiscrimination and civility. Students are considered as partners in this endeavor and the University expects all members of the community to be respectful of each other and to contribute in positive ways to an orderly and civil exchange of diverse ideas and opinions.

The University wants all students to feel welcome and safe in an environment dedicated to the critical discussion of complex and challenging ideas.

Meetings open only to members.

A student organization may invite any person to address its members, but organizations must follow normal procedures for reservation of space and demonstrate the ability to pay for associated costs for the meeting or event.

Meetings open to the Sewanee community.

A student organization may invite any person, approved by the majority of its members, who represents a point of view pertinent to the occasion to speak to an assembly of the Sewanee community, provided that the sponsorship of the event is consistent with the purposes of the organization.

Meetings open to the public.

For open meetings sponsored by campus organizations, procedures for reserving space must be followed.

  • Procedures for all types of meetings described above include registering in advance, so as to ensure the adequacy of arrangements, minimize schedule conflicts, reserve space, and demonstrate ability to pay for costs incurred.

  • Limitations on meetings. The University may restrict the times and places of organization meetings on University premises. A student organization denied permission to sponsor an assembly may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee.

  • Sponsorship. A registered student organization that sponsors an activity will be responsible for registration, arrangements, publicity, costs incurred, and the conduct of the participants. The Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, must approve access to University facilities for requests from registered student organizations that wish to use the facilities for a speaker of their choosing.

  • Off-campus groups may cooperate with a registered student organization in a campus event, but the campus organization remains fully responsible for the conduct of the off-campus group, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must pre-approve the arrangement. Student organizations’ fronting for off-campus groups is prohibited. Off-campus groups or individuals wishing to use University facilities independently must conform to University policies.

  • Physical distribution of printed statements or electronic media. Persons who distribute printed materials or materials on electronic media are responsible for the contents. Students may distribute leaflets, informational sheets, compact discs, or similar materials outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance and avoid restricting access. For outdoor events, distributors may position themselves twenty feet from the reserved lawn or area, again in a manner so as to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials and the name and contact information of the distributing individual or organization must be provided on each piece.

Protest and Dissent

Protest and dissent are necessary and acceptable forms of expression. However, protest or dissent that is disruptive or disorderly conduct is prohibited, particularly that which obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises, including programs, events, meetings, or speakers hosted by student organizations, departments, offices, or other entities . Students engaging in this type of disruptive action or disorderly conduct are subject to corrective action through the University’s accountability process, and may also be subject to criminal prosecution. Generally, picketing, distributing literature, silent or symbolic protests (e.g., holding signs, wearing certain clothing, standing, etc.), or short and spontaneous verbal reactions to a speaker are acceptable forms of protest and dissent, as long as they do not block, obstruct, or impede, among other things, access to a meeting or activity, passage of persons or vehicles, the audience’s view or ability to pay attention, and/or the speaker’s communication or ability to speak.

The University expects students to refrain from conduct that threatens, intimidates, harasses, or impairs the security or privacy of another member of the University community.  This includes behaviors that violate another person through the use of electronic communications, social media, computers, or data networks. Such conduct is a violation of University policy and may result in corrective action through the University’s conduct process.


The University is committed to fostering respect for the diversity of the University community and its individual members. In this spirit, and in accordance with the provisions of Sections 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (2008) the University seeks to provide disabled students with the reasonable accommodations needed to provide equal access to the programs and activities of the University.  When planning events that are open to the public, make sure that your organization’s events are accessible for students with disabilities. Your organization may want to consider hiring a sign language interpreter, creating large print handouts, or simply making sure that the room you reserve is easily accessible. Please follow the guidelines below with these accessibility needs in mind:

  • Clearly list contact information - Clearly list on all signs, posters, and event advertisements the contact information for the member of your organization who is aware of and responsible for accessibility concerns: wheelchair accessibility, seating arrangements, audio-visual capabilities, alternative print options, podium access, sign language availability, accessible van and elevator services as they relate to your event. Details can be found below.

  • Wheelchair Accessibility - Be aware of the physical accessibility of the building and specific rooms in which events are held, as well as the accessibility of nearby bathrooms. Note the presence/absence and locations of functioning elevators and unobstructed ramps. Also observe entrances and exits to the event, reception, and refreshment areas, as well as proximity of bathrooms to these locations. Consider also the possibility of extra-wide wheelchairs. For more information about the accessibility of event locations, please consult the University Wellness Center (UWC). The UWC is the administrative liaison for students at the University of the South who have physical, emotional, and/or learning disabilities and health conditions. More information can be found at

  • Seating - Determine the locations of seats free of line-of-sight obstruction or ambient-noise interference. Try to choose rooms with ramp platforms to most, if not all, parts of the room.

  • Audio-Visual Equipment - Technological capabilities available include film and video open captioning, FM microphones, printed or print alternative copies of dialogue and scripts of media presentations, monitors and boards fully visible from all seats, and amplification appropriate for particular rooms. For more information, please contact Academic Technology Services.

  • Alternative Print - Consider print alternatives, including handouts in large print or on discs (for persons who have requested this with advance notice). Please also post printed materials electronically, if possible, for reference after your event.

  • The Podium - It is impossible to assume in advance the needs of all your participants. If the event includes members of the public as presenters or speakers, be sure to consider access to the podium and all event activities.

  • Sign Language - Sign language interpreter arrangements must be made in advance and interpreters must be certified.

  • Van Access - Accessible transportation is available for students with appropriate documentation and with advance registration. For more information, please contact the Motor Pool at

  • Elevator Access - Check that the elevators are in working order the day before and the day of the event.

Access Statement
The University requires groups to include the following statement on all posters for events open to the University Community or General Public:

Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Accessibility Services  at 931-598-1270 as soon as possible, preferably at least two weeks in advance.


Where and how student organizations publicize activities and events should be reflective of who is invited.  Groups should consider their targeted population (members only, college community, or public), when formulating their plan for advertising.

All advertising, including posters, at a minimum should include the sponsoring group’s name, ticketing information (if applicable), who to contact for more information, and accessibility information. Advertising should also be free of copyrighted materials.

If your event requires registration, do not begin to advertise your event until your registration has been processed.

Advertising Events with Alcohol

Events may mention alcohol in printed and electronic posters, provided they use specific and approved language.  The standard language allows for three options:

Non-alcoholic beverages available. BYO beer, wine, and mixed drinks for 21+


Non-alcoholic beverages available. BYO beer only for 21+


Non-alcoholic event

These are the only acceptable phrases that are permitted on printed and/or electronic materials without prior permission from the Dean of Students Office.  Posters may not mention price of alcoholic beverages or specify types of beers, wines, or mixed drinks available.  No photos or logos of alcoholic beverages may be used in printed or electronic materials.


Recognized student organizations in good standing with the University have the privilege of posting on University bulletin boards and kiosks. The following policies govern postering on campus:

  • All posters must be submitted and approved using Engage.

  • Postersmay be placed only on bulletin boards and kiosks reserved by an organization.

  • "Restricted" bulletin boards (inside classrooms or buildings) are maintained by departments or offices, therefore postering on these bulletin boards must first be approved by the bulletin board’s owner.

  • Posters should not be placed on doors, fences, entry posts, gates, utility poles, waste containers, sidewalks, or other similar places.

  • Tape, staples, or pushpins should be used.  Do not use glue or other adhesives.

Organizations violating these rules can be fined per daily violation and may lose postering privileges by the University.

Screening Commercial Films, Documentaries, and Other Copyrighted Material

Student organizations are expected to be in compliance with copyright laws that govern commercial films and documentaries.

If the copyrighted material will be screened outside of a residence hall program, then the public performance rights will need to be secured by renting the film from a distributer, utilizing a copy of the film with the public performance rights, or obtaining the public performance rights from the copyright holder in writing.  If admission will be charged, any surplus revenue must be used to further the educational goals of the sponsoring organization, as outlined in its charter or constitution.  


Student organizations do not have the authority to sign contracts on behalf of the University or any of its faculties or departments.  Therefore, all contracts should clearly and accurately state the organization’s relationship with the College.  Organizations should ensure the following are present in every contract into which they enter:

  • The full, official name of the student organization

  • “The parties hereto agree and understand that the University of the South is not a party to this contract and that the University of the South is not responsible, under any circumstances, for performing any obligations of this contract.” (If this language is not included, and as a result there are negative consequences to the University of the South or any of its faculties or departments arising from a contract signed by members of a student organization, the University of the South will seek to hold those students who signed the contract and the student officers of the organization personally responsible.)

  • “[Party]’s use of the name “University of the South” (alone or as part of another name) in advertising or promotional materials is not permitted.”

Emergency Protocol for incidents that occur during student organization trips or off-campus activities:

In the event of an accident, emergency, sickness, or hospitalization affecting any student during a student organization trip, it is important that you immediately contact the Sewanee Police Department at 931-598-1111 to notify the University of the incident.  The purpose of this protocol is improve communication and ensure that the University can arrange appropriate support for the individual student(s) affected by the incident. Students can also use the LiveSafe mobile app to identify protocol and emergency procedures and to contact the Sewanee dispatch center.