Event Planning for Students
Student groups contemplating in-person events should read the "In-Person Events" section below on this page.
All GSD events must go through an approval process and must follow Harvard and GSD events policies, as discussed below. This includes all events affiliated with a GSD student group, regardless of the event location, including off-campus and virtual events.
It is very important to go through the process, and not assume a proposed event will be approved. In particular, don’t confirm things with speakers until your event has been approved!
All student events must be affiliated with an active student group. If you are not part of a group, you will need to find a group to co-sponsor your proposed event. If your group is not on that list of currently active groups, check in with [email protected] about how to re-activate your group for the current academic year. Groups must be registered as active to sponsor events.
As outlined below, student group event requests go through Engage, our student groups and activities platform. As part of the approval process, Student Affairs staff may ask for more information, see if you can shift to another date, time, or location, etc.
Once an event has been fully approved and all information necessary for publicity is finalized, approved events are also shown in GSD Now, which aggregates all happenings at the GSD.
Steps for proposing an event:
- Talk to your group’s Events Liaison. Events liaisons are labeled on Engage rosters. Events Liaisons can submit event requests for your group within Engage.
- Determine a proposed date and time for your event, avoiding conflicts with other events (see more below). It’s good to have at least one backup date and time in mind.
- If your event proposal includes any high-profile speakers, any requests for funding beyond what your group is allocated by Student Forum, or any logistically complex aspects, contact [email protected] early in your planning process.
- Make your event request in Engage, answering all the question prompts as completely as possible.
- Do not confirm the event with your proposed speakers, or publicize the event, until you have received official confirmation that the event, your proposed timing, and your proposed format have been approved.
- If your proposed event has any in-person element, see the important guidelines below for in-person events, and note that they are potentially subject to change due to public health needs.
- Once your event is approved, it will be posted to GSD Now. At that point, if you need to change anything about the publicized information there, contact [email protected] directly to have the information corrected.
Important things to know:
- Current GSD policy is that whenever possible no two events should take place at the same time. This helps lessen community fatigue as well as reduce conflicts between events. Student groups considering potential dates and times for events should check GSD Now and the GSD Public Events page for potential conflicts, though from time-to-time a time and location may not be available despite appearing to be on those two sites.
- Conflicts with the GSD Public Lecture Series or significant dates on the Academic Calendar are not allowed. Events will not be approved if they conflict with a GSD public program.
- Student group internal meetings (virtual or not) should go through the events approval process in Engage just like any event. Engage has options for scheduling a regularly recurring meeting. Internal meetings are allowed to conflict with each other and with other events. It is encouraged, however, not to have meetings conflict with GSD Public Events whenever possible.
- Any event that will be publicized, whether to the internal GSD community or to audiences outside the GSD, requires compliance with the above planning steps, even if it is entirely virtual.
- If the Events Committee believes that hosting a proposed speaker or holding a particular event would not be in alignment with the GSD’s community values, the committee reserves the right to deny or cancel the event.
For Spring 2023, there are no public health restrictions currently placed on in-person events. A group can choose to add restrictions to an event if desired, such as requiring mask use. Groups may wish to check with members about varying comfort levels around Covid risks when making plans.
In-person events must:
- Adhere to campus-wide or GSD-specific public health policies, should any be announced.
- Keep attendee numbers within the official capacity of a space.
- Comply with the GSD room usage policy.
- Be approved through the standard student events process on Engage, even if outdoors.
Event approval may be contingent on there being sufficient advance notice for administrators to hire extra security and/or custodial staff specifically for the event, depending on size and nature of the proposed event.
Groups considering in-person activities should also make note of the GSD’s Student Events Alcohol Policy
and GSD Custodial Policy for Events. Keep in mind that adhering to these policies can sometimes add unforeseen costs to a planned event. Additional ways unforeseen costs can accrue to in-person events include potential needs for building or event security staffing, and rental of media equipment or hiring of media services technicians.
Important: Violation of any posted GSD or Harvard policies around public health and safety, or alcohol use, can lead to disciplinary action. Violations by student groups can lead to action impacting both group leadership and the group itself. Groups violating safety policies may lose all access to funding through Harvard, including Student Forum allocations, for the remainder of the academic year. This loss of funding can include denial of reimbursement requests for any expenses for the violating event.
There is no one time that will be great for all possible attendees. We can however offer some guidelines:
- Many classes take place in the 8 am to 6 pm time block, and some may take place up through 7 pm.
- Times during the class day are discouraged for holding events, even virtual ones, though some lunchtime events may be approved.
- 6:30 PM start times or later are required for evening programs.
If you have questions, please contact the Event Liaison of your group or [email protected]
Faculty and staff, including TAs and researchers, please see the event planning instructions for faculty and staff.