All GSD events must go through an approval process and must follow Harvard and GSD events policies. This includes all events affiliated with GSD student organizations, including in-person and hybrid events, fully virtual events, and student organization events taking place away from the Harvard campus.

Student-led events at the GSD must be affiliated with and sponsored by a currently active registered and recognized GSD Student Organization.

Event planners should be aware that not all proposed events can be approved. The GSD Events Committee reviews proposed events, considering policies, scheduling conflicts, and availability of rooms and other resources, in determining whether a proposed event can be approved. Additionally, student organization events must submit budget requests for any funding needed, before they can consider their proposed event confirmed.

Both event proposals and budget requests for student organizations take place through Engage, our student activities platform. As part of the approval process, Student Life,  Communications, or Facilities staff may ask for more information. You may also need to consider shifting your proposed event to another date, time, location, etc. Making your request in Engage well in advance of your proposed event is highly recommended. Events proposed with less than two weeks notice are much less likely to be able to be approved.

The more complex your proposed event, the more lead time you should expect to need to successfully produce your event. This is especially true for events with high-profile proposed speakers, speakers who will need travel support, events needing extensive custodial, security, or media services support, and events hoping to take place in high-demand rooms or at high-demand times. Student organizations should be aware that there is limited capacity to produce major events, such as weekend conferences and symposia, or high-profile lectures.

Once an event has been fully approved and all information necessary for publicity is finalized, approved events are shown in the Engage events list and are also publicized on GSD Now, which aggregates all happenings at the GSD.

Steps for proposing an event

  1. Talk to your organization’s Events Liaison and Treasurer. Check the Engage roster if you are unsure who holds these roles.
  2. 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.
  3. Have your Events Liaison make your event request in Engage.
  4. Determine likely costs associated with your event, including any extra costs for custodial, security, or media services support, as well as any desired speaker honoraria or travel support, and anything else that would require funding approval.
  5. Have your Treasurer make your budget request in Engage.
  6. Respond to any questions or requests for changes from Student Life or other staff. These conversations take place on Engage, on the event request and budget request made for your event.
  7. WAIT to confirm any aspects of the event with proposed speakers, and to publicize the event, until you have received official confirmation that the event has been approved. This includes waiting for confirmation on date, time, and location, as well as confirmation of approval of your speakers, your proposed event format, and any budget needed to produce your event.
  8. Once your event is approved, you will have a chance to update the event description or other details before your event is officially posted to Engage and GSD Now.

Important things to know

  • 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 organizations considering potential dates and times for events should check GSD Now and the GSD Public Events page for conflicts, though the appearance of availability on those sites does not automatically guarantee that the date and time are available.
  • 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 organization internal meetings should go through the events approval process in Engage just like any other event.
    • Engage has options for scheduling a regularly recurring meeting.
    • Internal meetings are allowed to conflict with each other and with other events.
    • Avoid internal meetings conflicting 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.

In-person events

  • In-person events must keep attendee numbers within the official capacity of a space and comply with the GSD room usage policy.
  • Groups considering serving alcohol should review the GSD’s Student Events Alcohol Policy, and note that a key requirement of that policy is advance approval from Student Life staff.
  • Event approval may be contingent on there being sufficient advance notice for administrators to hire extra security, custodial, or media services staff specifically for the event, depending on size and nature of the proposed event.
  • Requests for extra custodial support must be made two weeks in advance of the event. This is a matter of university policy and compliance with the union contract guaranteeing custodial staff advance notice of their work hours. Groups should check the full GSD Custodial Policy for Events for more information, including additional costs associated with hiring extra custodial support.
  • Keep in mind that hiring of additional security staff, or rental of media equipment or hiring of media services technicians, requires advance notice, and can involve significant additional costs.

Violation of any posted GSD or Harvard policies around public health and safety, or alcohol use, can lead to disciplinary action.

  • Violations by student organizations can lead to disciplinary action potentially impacting both organizational leadership and members as individuals, and the organization itself.
  • Student organizations 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.

Timing tips

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.