Student Engagement

Terms and Conditions

Updated - 3/23/2023

Table of Contents

It is the responsibility of the student organization and their adviser(s) to understand the risks that are involved in any activity and any financial consequences that may result from their actions. Any claims against the student organization would be the responsibility of the student organization.  In some instances when activities are for the direct benefit of ISU or the State of Iowa, the University may provide liability coverage.  General liability coverage for student organization events may be purchased for higher-risk events or when the connection to the university is vague.


Advertising and Posting

Student organizations may not utilize Student Engagement or Memorial Union resources to advertise events until such events have been reviewed and approved through the Event Authorization process. Student organizations may be granted permission to advertise prior to full approval. Events must have endorsements from the organization's President, Treasurer, and Adviser, along with an endorsement from the location manager, to be considered for advertising approval. Events involving youth or animals, higher-risk activities, and/or other complicating factors (size/length/time of day/scale/etc.) must have the previously mentioned endorsements and at least one meeting with the Event Authorization Committee to be considered. Additionally, for youth events - a Youth Program Registration form must be submitted to the Office of Risk Management before any advertising can occur.

Signboards are available at the MU Event Management Office to allow organizations to advertise in select locations.  Leafleting may be conducted in a way that avoids substantial littering of the campus.  Signs, decals, banners, paint, and other display materials are not to be affixed to sidewalks, steps, trees, fences, shrubs, light poles or other fixtures of the landscape. Freestanding displays are not to be placed in any area other than those areas authorized through the Event Authorization process coordinated by Student Engagement. All visual displays must be removed 48 hours after authorization has expired. If clean-up is not prompt, the university's campus services unit will remove displays and bill the unit or individual responsible for the display. Unauthorized posted displays, banners and signage will be removed by Campus Services and the unit or individual responsible for the materials will be billed for clean-up. All chalking must adhere to the Chalking Policy.



In accordance with the Alcohol Use – Students and Student Organizations and Alcohol, Drugs, and Other Intoxicants policies, alcohol service and consumption is generally prohibited at student organization events. 

Student organizations affiliated with the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Engagement are required to comply with SFE policies and procedures regarding their events. 

Graduate student organizations are permitted to host events with alcohol with appropriate oversight and review.

Under special circumstances and procedures, departments that affiliate with student organizations may manage a departmental event with alcohol in conjunction with a student organization event as long as the alcohol service is managed directly by the ISU department. 



All student organization events involving the use of animals must be approved by the Event Authorization Committee (EAC).  Each event using animals must submit the Use of Animals at Special Events Form (accessed through the Event Authorization system).  The Office of Risk Management (ORM) will forward the form for review by the ISU Non-academic Use of Animals committee.  Final consideration or approval for the event is contingent on the ISU Non-academic Use of Animals committee's recommendations to ORM and an in-person meeting of the student organization with EAC.  See also:


Assumption of Risk

If an event involves an increased potential of risk or harm for its participants, the Office of Risk Management (ORM) will provide participation agreements for individuals to sign only after the event is approved by the Event Authorization Committee (EAC).  The participation agreement will explain the potential risks specific to the activity to create awareness of the risks associated and also informs participants that their participation is voluntary.  Student organizations should plan for all possible risks, utilizing their adviser's knowledge of the activity, ORM resources, or other recognized experts to develop methods to improve event or activity safety.



The event is not considered authorized until all affected departments have approved and payment is arranged for services.


Central Campus

a) Vehicles: Driving and parking vehicles on Central Campus is prohibited. Contact the Office of Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M) for placement of grills, tents, etc.

b) Loading/Unloading: Loading and unloading can be done from designated parking lots and service areas with a special permit. Contact FP&M to assist with loading and unloading.

c) Times: Groups sponsoring activities on Central Campus during the noon hour should realize that the time period between 11:45am to 12:15pm Monday through Friday is reserved for carillon recitals. No testing of electrical equipment or warm-up of musical equipment is to occur before 4pm during the class week.



The sponsoring group is responsible for clean-up of the area they have reserved. Sponsors of activities that include the distribution of leaflets or literature must police the area within 500 feet for discarded materials. If materials are not cleaned up, the organization will be charged for clean-up costs.  Extra trash containers can be rented from Facilities Planning and Management (FP&M). Recycle containers can be reserved free of charge from FP&M.


Collaboration With Non-ISU Organizations 

While collaboration with non-ISU organizations is allowed, recognized student organizations may not reserve space for non-ISU organizations for the primary purpose of reduced rates or to circumvent limitations for reservations as required by the applicable facility. The student organization holding the reservation must be primarily responsible for planning, implementing, and financing the event for the function to be considered a "student organization event." Student Engagement, in consultation with the Event Authorization Committee, reserves the right to evaluate and determine whether the event meets the criteria of a student organization event. If intentional misrepresentation has occurred, the student organization will be responsible for all necessary fees, and disciplinary action may be taken, up to and including the suspension of the organization's recognition, loss of access to university resources, or restricted access to university facilities. 

A determination of whether an activity is coordinated by a student organization will be made based on the following criteria: 

  • Student officers/members/advisers of the student organization serve as the primary coordinators of the event arrangements and logistical details. 

  • The student officers/members/advisers of the organization serve as the primary decision-makers and are the only ones allowed to make changes to their event. 

  • The student officers/members/advisers of the student organization are the ones primarily communicating with location managers and members of the Event Authorization Committee and (if asked to attend) are the ones presenting their event plans during the Event Authorization Committee meetings. 

  • The student organization is listed as the event's coordinator on all advertisements/promotions. 

  • The student organization account number is provided to the relevant departments for any necessary charges incurred for the event. 

If Student Engagement and the Event Authorization Committee determine that an off-campus entity is actually coordinating the event, it will be considered a third-party event, and the event organizers will be directed to work with Conference Planning and Management. 



Specific rules for signature authority exist for student organizations. Individuals authorized to sign contracts are obligated to be familiar with the University's policies and procedures regarding contracts. Contract insurance and liability language is reviewed by the Office of Risk Management (ORM). Student organizations wishing to contract with speakers, entertainers, performers, or vendors should work with the Student Engagement office to draft a performer or vendor agreement. See the Speakers, Entertainers, Performers, and Vendors section below for more information.



Activities may not substantially interfere with academic or administration activities or previously scheduled activities. Activities may not disrupt the free flow on sidewalks or streets. The sponsoring group is responsible for ensuring that the activity (including the audience) stays within the appropriate area.  Amplified sound is prohibited while academic classes are in session, (8 am to 4 pm).


Events Involving Youth (non-ISU students under the age of 18)

Events with youth require additional responsibilities in taking appropriate measures to minimize reasonably foreseeable hazards to minor participants.   Student/campus organizations must collaborate with an ISU department/unit for events involving youth.  The youth program leader must be ISU faculty or Professional and Scientific (P&S) staff and is responsible for completing a Youth Program Registration form for submittal to the Office of Risk Management (ORM) as well as ensuring compliance with applicable ISU policies and procedures. At a minimum, all youth events must comply with the ISU youth programs policy located in the ISU Policy Library. Student organizations who wish to involve youth in an event should contact ORM six months in advance to assist with review and preparation.  Student Organizations working with a department to host a youth event must also submit the event to the event Authorization Committee for final approval.  See also: and


Fires, Firearms, or Weapons

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa has set rules that cover the authorization of use of fire, firearms, and weapons (681 Iowa Administrative Code 9.1). The definition of weapons is outlined in 681 Iowa Administrative Code 13.14(5).  Firearms or weapons that are created and modified for safe use for starting sporting events or theatrical events may be permitted under the supervision of faculty or staff responsible for such events after submitting a written request to the Office of Risk Management (ORM).  Requests for the use of fires on or off campus as a part of a student event and all other student activities involving firearms and/or weapons must be reviewed by both ORM and the Department of Public Safety.  Final approval is granted by the Senior Vice President for Operations and Finance. See also: and



The use of fireworks, pyrotechnics, sky-tracker lights, and laser or flame effect displays is prohibited in the City of Ames except when done in accordance with a permit authorized by the City Council (Section 727.2 Code of Iowa). The Office of Risk Management (ORM) is the ISU liaison with the City of Ames for all events including but not limited to, ceremonies, banquets, science demonstrations, and theatrical or concert performances on property owned by Iowa State University. All student activities that propose to use fireworks, pyrotechnics, sky-tracker lights, and laser displays must meet with the Event Authorization Committee (EAC) to review the activities.  In addition, student organizations must contact ORM to obtain an Application for Use of Fireworks.  Approval is not final until ORM has received a signed contract and certificate of insurance from a display operator licensed to do this type of work in the State of Iowa.  See also:



The Office of Risk Management (ORM) has developed procedures to maintain the health and safety of individuals who participate in programs and events involving food and beverages.  Student organizations must adhere to health practices outlined in the State of Iowa Food Code and the ISU procedures for food sales or service.  All organization members who serve or handle food must have successfully completed the annual SafeFood 101 Food Handling training available online through the ORM website, and have their SafeFood 101 course completion card with them at the time of service.  In addition, all food items must come from an ISU-approved caterer or vendor, and food service that takes place more than once in one week will require a Temporary Food Establishment License from the State of Iowa. See also:



Credit card fundraising is prohibited on campus. Raffles and other forms of gambling must be registered through the Campus Organizations Accounting Office (1580J Memorial Union, West Student Office Space • 515/294-1633). SOLICITATION POLICY MUST BE FOLLOWED.


Indoor Events

Events held indoors in a university facility must not conflict with university programs and events and must be compatible with the purpose of the facility or particular area used. Organizations should contact the MU Event Management Office or the relevant facility to determine availability, regulations, and fees for use.



Non-ISU groups must provide proof of liability insurance for events located on ISU property. Each vendor providing services to student organizations or the university (these services are traditionally food or entertainment) must have a contract with the university and provide a certificate of insurance.  Most student organization activities do not require the purchase of insurance when their event is approved through the Event Authorization Committee (EAC) and held on ISU property.  However, higher-risk activities, large-scale events, or activities that are not within the liability protection of the State of Iowa tort system, will require the organization to purchase additional insurance as determined through consultation with the Office of Risk Management (ORM).


Off-Campus Events 

Off-campus events hosted by student organizations must be submitted to the University Event Authorization system. The student organizers will need to upload documentation from the venue that indicates the organization has permission to host the event in their space. This can be in the form of a reservation confirmation, letter, email chain, or any other document stating their approval. 

If the organization plans to invite a paid speaker, performer, or vendor to an off-campus event, they should work with Student Engagement to complete a performer or vendor agreement. See section on Speakers, Entertainers, Performers, and Vendors.



Events involving races, fireworks, or loud activities may require a permit and/or City Council approval from the City of Ames.  The Office of Risk Management (ORM) should be consulted when any permit is needed.  ORM is the ISU liaison with the City of Ames for obtaining permits and any related insurance required.


Public Events

These are outdoor events in which more than 50 persons are reasonably expected to participate and indoor events in which more than 15 persons are reasonably expected to participate.

See the policy and guidelines for use of facilities and grounds, including expressive activities.


Public Events Outside

Organizations and groups of persons wishing to use outdoor areas for a public event must file with the MU Event Management Office a notice of intent to use an area. If possible, such notice should be given at least 24 hours in advance of the event, but, in any case, must be given at least 3 hours prior to the event. No approval is necessary if the event meets the following criteria:

  • On weekdays between the hours of 8am and 5pm, the event will be held at least 100 feet away from buildings that normally hold classes

  • No other person or group has been authorized to use the area or has filed a notice of intent to use that area or an adjacent area

  • The organizers do not intend to use amplification equipment or equipment requiring use of electrical power connections. Hand–held megaphones are permitted if used so as to direct the sound away from nearby buildings that normally hold classes

  • Participants will not use displays other than signs or banners carried at all times by one or two participants (unattended displays may not be used without permission)

  • The sponsor of the event indicates that the event will comply with the general restrictions indicated above.

  • See the policy and guidelines for use of facilities and grounds, including expressive activities.



ISU Department of Public Safety (or their designees) may be required for some events. Any costs for overtime or additional services will be the obligation of the requesting organization. Every attempt will be made to accommodate the financial constraints of the requesting organization; HOWEVER, campus safety will be the overriding factor in all decisions.


Speakers, Entertainers, Performers, and Vendors 

If a recognized student organization would like to invite a speaker, entertainer, performer, or other personality to their event and pay for their service, the organization will need to work with Student Engagement to draft a performer agreement.1 After submitting the event to the University Event Authorization system, the student organizer should submit a Contract Request form to Student Engagement and a copy of the performer's W9 form at least 10 business days in advance. 

If the speaker or performer is a locally, regionally, or nationally known figure, and the event is open to non-members/the general public, the Event Authorization Committee may consult with the Office of Risk Management and the Department of Public Safety to determine the level of security that will be needed (if any) for speaker, event organizer, and attendee safety. The student organization will be responsible for all necessary security costs.  

Similar to speakers and performers, if a recognized student organization wishes to have an off-campus vendor's service at their event (e.g., inflatables, novelties, livestock judging, etc.), the organization will need to work with Student Engagement to draft a vendor agreement.2  After submitting the event to the University Event Authorization system, the student organizer should submit a Contract Request form to Student Engagement and a copy of the performer's W9 form at least 10 business days in advance. 

The Event Authorization Committee reserves the right to re-locate any on-campus event to a different campus location if it is determined that the event will violate the university's Facilities and Grounds Use Policy or the event's security needs cannot be met in the originally planned location. Events will not be re-located or denied authorization based upon the content of the proposed speaker or performance. 


Student Organization Liability

When activities approved by the Event Authorization Committee (EAC) are for the direct benefit of ISU or the State of Iowa, the University may provide liability coverage.  General liability coverage for student organization events may be purchased for higher risk events or when the connection to the university is vague.


Tents/Staking to the Ground-Locates

Contact Facilities Planning and Management (General Services Building • 515/294-0692); requires a 5-class day notification for tents or other objects to be staked to the ground. There is a charge for this service. Iowa State has pre-approved tent, staging, table, and chair vendors.


Travel Review and Authorization

All student organization travel by university-owned, leased, fabricated, and rented vehicles must be approved through the Student Organization Travel Authorization system (SOTA) located at the Office of Risk Management (ORM) web site ( Travel funding from student organization accounts will be allowed only for student organization travel that has been approved through the SOTA system.  All travel is subject to the policy and procedures of Transportation Services, ORM and applicable ISU policies including but not limited to the Vehicle Use and Fleet Safety and Travel - Student Organizations. See also:



A volunteer is an individual who performs services in furtherance of the humanitarian, educational, or service mission of a student organization or the university. A volunteer performs services without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation, benefits or consideration for the services provided. Volunteers may be a member of the public, ISU employee, or student who is enrolled at ISU, however, when providing volunteer services, a volunteer is not acting as an ISU employee, is not an ISU student fullfilling a normal mission of a student organization, is not covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), and is not eligible for university benefits or workers' compensation.  An individual volunteering to provide services (such as coaches) to a recognized student organization at ISU must complete a Volunteer Agreement.   The student organization's adviser and president must consult with ORM regarding the appropriate process for volunteer agreement, approval, and designation. See also:




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