This page has been updated for the fall 2020 online environment. Note that even events taking place solely online must go through an approval process and must follow Harvard and GSD events policies, as discussed below.
All student events must be affiliated with a student group. If you are not part of a group and wish to hold an event, you will need to find a group to co-sponsor your proposed event.
This year, we are rolling out a new student groups and activities platform, Engage. While in past years, all student group events requests occurred in the SERT room reservations system, student group events requests and approvals will now take place in Engage.
For any event:
- Talk to your group's Events Liaison. Events liaisons are labeled on Engage rosters for each group. 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, requests for funding beyond what your group is allocated by Student Forum, or logistically complex aspects, contact Erica George early in your planning process.
- If your event proposal includes any in-person elements for any participants, contact Erica George early in your planning process, and see below for more information about proposing in-person events at this time.
- Make your event request in Engage, answering all the question prompts as completely as possible. Note any constraints on timing, such as availability of your potential speakers.
- Be prepared for additional questions from Erica or other members of the GSD Events Committee as we review your event proposal.
- Do not confirm the event with your proposed speakers, or publicize the event, until you have received official confirmation that the event, and your proposed timing, have been approved.
Important things to know:
- Current GSD policy is that no two events take place at the same time, even online events. Student groups considering potential dates and times for events should check the GSD Community Calendar and the GSD Public Events page for potential conflicts. 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 should go through the events approval process in Engage, but 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.
- If the Events Committee believes that hosting a proposed speaker would not be in alignment with the GSD’s community values, the committee reserves the right to deny or cancel the event.
Planning ahead for future events:
Many groups are thinking ahead to future events, including the eventual return to in-person events of all sizes. Please note that at this time, we are not approving plans for student events in 2021 and beyond, pending announcement of the GSD's and Harvard's plans for the spring 2021 semester. If your group has plans for future semesters, you can submit them in Engage and/or discuss them with Erica, but be aware that we are not yet ready to approve such events.
When we do return to holding regular in-person events on campus, there will be significant updates to these instructions for events planning, including checking the SERT room reservations system to check room availabilities when requesting specific rooms. Expect that for one or more semesters after returning to campus, there will still be precautions and restrictions on in-person events due to the coronavirus.
If you would like to start thinking ahead to in-person events on campus, please read through the room usage policy for important guidelines.
What about holding in-person events now?
For reasons of safety and of equity for our geographically dispersed population, we encourage all events to take place online rather than in person. However, it may be possible for some small gatherings to take place, if they meet all of the GSD and Harvard rules regarding events during the coronavirus pandemic. No in-person events should take place without explicit prior permission from a student affairs staff member.
If your group is considering requesting to hold a small, distanced, masked outdoor gathering for no more than 10 people, please contact Erica George very early in your planning. Erica will help you determine whether an in-person gathering could be appropriate given the specific circumstances of your proposed event. You should not assume that permission for an in-person gathering will be granted, even if it is carefully planned.
Important: Violation of any posted GSD or Harvard policies around in-person events, on-campus activity, and coronavirus safety precautions can lead to disciplinary action. Violations by student groups can lead to action impacting both group leadership and the group itself. Groups violating these important 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.
Time zone tips:
While our community is geographically dispersed, there is no one time that will be great for all possible attendees. We can however offer some guidelines:
- All GSD events are listed in the Eastern time zone, either EDT (during Daylight Savings Time, until the first Sunday in November) or EST (from the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March).
- Many classes take place in the 9 am to noon time block, and some take place up through 6 pm. As usual, times during the class day are strongly discouraged for holding events (lunchtime events are still allowed).
- Events held in the lunchtime noon to 2 pm time block may be relatively accessible to many students across the globe. Note that noon in the Eastern US is midnight in China and many other parts of Asia, so some students will need to stay up late to attend.
- To better accommodate those in Asian time zones, and the later end of some courses, evening events should start at 7:30 pm or later. Note that 7:30 pm in the Eastern US is 7:30 am in China and many other parts of Asia, and India is 2.5 hours earlier than China. A great resource for comparing time zones is the ITF time zones calculator.
- Many student groups are considering rotating the timing of their events and meetings so as not to regularly be more challenging for specific time zones. Many groups are also considering more weekend events than usual.
If you have questions, please contact the Event Liaison of your group or Erica George, Coordinator of Student Activities and Outreach.
Faculty and staff, including TAs and researchers, please see the event planning instructions for faculty and staff.