Meetings and Events


Complete information regarding policies and procedures for planning student organization events and activities can be found online at the DSO website.

Officers of ISOs, RSOs and DSSOs must receive approval for conferences and other large events from the Dean of Students Office prior to planning such events. In addition, officers of ISOs and RSOs should alert the Dean of Students Office before signing any contracts with vendors, hotels, consultants, or performers. (DSSOs may not sign contracts on their own behalf.)

Indoor Meetings

College classrooms, lecture halls, and certain other rooms are available to ISOs, RSOs and DSSOs, with the understanding that:

  • Rooms will be kept neat and clean. Food policies for the room will be followed.
  • There will be no unnecessary noise or actions that might disturb other occupants or those in surrounding buildings or in the street or office below.
  • Room Reservation privileges are non-transferable and may not be reserved on behalf of unrecognized organizations, non-College organizations, or other third-party entities.
  • Permission to use on-campus spaces and venues must be provided by the appropriate room scheduler. For a list of venues and how to make a reservation, see the DSO website.

An ISO, RSO or DSSO may not announce its meeting place until it has received official permission in writing for the use of that location. Meetings sponsored jointly with outside organizations are not permitted in University buildings without explicit permission from the Dean of Students Office.

Events open to the public ("open to the public" is defined as open to attendees beyond a particular House community, ISO, RSO or DSSO membership) should be planned with accessibility considerations in mind. Organizers should consider wheelchair accessibility, seating arrangements, audio-visual accessibility, alternative print options, podium access, and sign language availability as they plan events. For more information on accessibility, or to receive help in planning for these accommodations, there are several resources available. Please contact the Dean of Students Office, refer to the DSO website, or seek the assistance of the Accessible Education Office at 617-496-8707 or University Disability Services.

Outdoor Meetings/Events

  • Outdoor space request forms must be completed and approved by the Dean of Students Office for any outdoor meeting.
  • On University property, outdoor meetings may not be held in the immediate vicinity of classrooms during normal class hours, nor may they be held near residence buildings between 9 pm and 9 am.
  • The use of private property also requires the permission of the owner.
  • Meetings sponsored jointly with outside organizations are not permitted on University property.
  • The use of city streets or other public property also requires written authorization from and compliance with regulations of the City of Cambridge.

Restricted Dates for Events

Permission will not be given to hold concerts, dramatic performances, debates, meetings, rallies, contests of any kind, etc., during Examination Periods. Late night social events also will not be approved during the weekend of the Head of the Charles Regatta. In addition, restrictions will be placed on events during Reading Periods if they interfere with residential areas and libraries where exam preparation is underway.

Paid Admissions

All public events must be registered and approved in advance through the Dean of Students Office through the Event Registration process. In addition, the Event Registration policy may require the presence of a University police officer and/or tutors or proctors, City of Cambridge licenses, and/or an Event Supervisor or Beverage Server through Student Event Services. The Event Registration Policy and appropriate forms can be found online at the DSO website. Questions about this process may be answered in the Dean of Students Office.

Motion Pictures

Any student group or organization in the College and the Houses borrowing commercial films must follow all copyright regulations as outlined below.

  • If admission is charged, any surplus revenue shall be used to further the educational goals of the sponsoring organization, as outlined in its charter.
  • The showing of commercial films in the College and its Houses is subject to the following regulations: (a) advertising must be restricted to the Harvard community; (b) the House Committee, ISO, RSO, or DSSO, or other appropriate committee will ordinarily be responsible for the screening of films and for financial arrangements.
  • Organizations showing films must conform to all applicable city and state fire regulations.

Copyright Regulations

The Federal Copyright Act makes it unlawful to show a film in public without the explicit permission of the film’s copyright owner. Renting or purchasing a DVD at a local video store or elsewhere gives the customer the right to view the film but not to show it in public. The Copyright Act defines “public” in this context as “any place where a substantial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances is gathered.”

Several major production and distribution companies—Columbia, MGM, Paramount, Orion, and others—have given notice that arrangements to show their films publicly on university campuses can be made by calling Swank Motion Pictures of St. Louis 314-289-2102. All students who wish to show films under circumstances that are likely to be considered “public” are urged to call this organization to arrange for appropriate permission.

Public Performances

General Requirements in Regulations for Independent Student Organizations.


Dances must end by 2 am, per City of Cambridge ordinance. At any public dance, a University Police detail and/or tutors, proctors, or Student Event Services staff must be present. A complete list of guidelines for dances and the required Event Registration form are available in the Dean of Students Office.

Working with Minors

Harvard University is committed to providing a safe environment for everyone on its campuses and in its programs. This includes the thousands of minors who participate in programs and activities both on and off campus. Members of the Harvard community who interact with minors in any official capacity are expected to foster and maintain an appropriate and secure environment for minors. The University Policy can be found here: Guidance for ISOs/RSOs to comply with this policy can be found in the Recognized Student Organization Resource Guide.