Student Engagement

Event Planning Common Resources

Getting Events Authorized

Events That Have to be Authorized:

Events that are not open to the public (i.e. open to only organization members) do not have to be authorized. If your event includes guests, members of other organizations, is open to the Iowa State Community, individuals from other universities, or the Ames community, you do need to have your event authorized.

How Events are Authorized:

You will begin by filling out and submitting an University Event Authorization. This form must be submitted online at least ten class days prior to the date of the event. Large special events and theme weeks are expected to submit the form 30-60 days in advance. Follow the step by step procedures on the Event Authorization Page to learn how to complete the authorization process.

Attending an Event Authorization Meeting:

Based on the type of event you are holding, you may or may not have to meet with the Event Authorization Committee (EAC). The Event Authorization chair will notify you to schedule a meeting should your organization need to meet with them. If you have further questions please email Event Authorization.

Event Approval/Denial:

Student Engagement will keep you updated throughout the authorization process. Once your event is approved or denied, you will receive an email from the Event Authorization Chair stating the decision on your event. If you have questions, you can email Event Authorization.

Food and Beverages at Events

Serving or Selling Food at Events:

Organizations can serve and/or sell food at events. Please visit the Office of Risk Management website for details and approved vendor list if you plan to bring in an outside food vendor.

Using ISU Catering:

If you are hosting your event in the Memorial Union, the use of ISU Catering is required. If your event is somewhere else, you can use ISU Catering but are not required to. Visit the ISU Catering website for more details.

Alcohol at Events:

Professional and Graduate student organizations may hold events with alcohol under certain conditions when approved by the Event Authorization Committee. Undergraduate student organizations may not hold events with alcohol or at establishments that primarily serve alcohol or are designated as bars.

Campus Services

Email Steve Kohtz to coordinate the following resources.

Driving and Parking Vehicles on Campus Lawns:

Personal vehicles are not allowed to drive or park on campus lawns. Vehicles or equipment required to set up or mobilize displays or activities cannot park on campus lawns. Coordinate with Facilities Planning and Management for displays or activities which require a vehicle or special equipment for set up or mobilization.

Grilling on Campus:

Personal grills are not allowed on campus.  Industrial grills are allowed. Facilities Planning and Management transports all grills to and from campus lawns.

Using Golf Carts on Campus:

You must receive small vehicle orientation/training and review insurance requirements prior to using small vehicles such as golf carts, gators, utility carts, etc. on campus. This includes leased and borrowed vehicles. Contact the Office of Risk Management for more information.

Waste Management:

Food events should plan for at least two 55 gallon trash receptacles for every 50 attendees.

Suggestion: Space trash receptacles at outer limits of your event activity area, and deposit the trash bags in a nearby dumpster.

Note:  Keep sustainability and waste minimization in mind when considering waste-management at your event. Contact Facilities Planning and Management or use the Zero Waste Event Toolkit

Electricity for Outdoor Events:

Contact Facilities Planning and Management Facilities Services for information and assistance with electrical needs.

Note: Facilities Planning and Management doesn't provide extension cords.

Tent Suppliers and Contracts:

The university has a contract with one tent suppliers and installer. Contact the Purchasing Department for contact information.

Note: Tent installations require locating underground utilities before tent is installed. Tents larger than 400 square feet also require inspection through Environmental Health & Safety. Too coordinate this, submit a Tents and Temporary Structures Inspection Request.

Animals, Fireworks, Gambling, Sales, and Trademark


Yes it is possible. You will need to fill out the Use of Animals Form on the Risk Management website. This should be accompanied with your submission to the University Event Authorization system.


Fireworks and pyrotechnic displays require special permission from ISU, and permission and a permit from the City of Ames. Also requires a licensed technician to discharge the fireworks. Fireworks cannot be discharged after 12:30 am. Contact the Office of Risk Management for more information.

Permitted Gambling:

The Campus Organization Accounting Office handles the regulations on the gambling permit. Permitted gambling includes bingo and raffles. You may need to fill out a Gambling Permit Usage Request.

Sales and Solicitation:

Sales and solicitation are permitted for recognized student organizations, provided guidelines have been met and followed. Third party credit card processors including Paypal, Venmo, Square, etc. are not an acceptable form of payment and credit cards can only be collected through the Student Organization Marketplace, Conference Planning and Management, or by reserving portable credit card readers from the Campus Organization Accounting Office. For a more complete understanding of what sales and solicitation looks like on campus, review the guidelines here.


Whenever your organization creates a t-shirt, mug, pen, cap or any other product representing Iowa State, make sure the products come from businesses licensed to use the university's mascot, school name or other logos. Review trademark guidelines and use for more information.

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