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Conferences, Tournaments and Competitions

Important Notes

  • Any proposed activity must be consistent with your approved group's mission and scope. If unsure, ask.
  • Lead-time required is a minimum of 6 months.​
  • Most large-scale events require significant university, ASSU and off-campus resources, so your group must develop a detailed written program plan and realistic budget of a VSO. The plan must receive university approval through OSE and other university offices before work can begin.
  • For large events that take place over the course of multiple days and rooms, a meeting with C&W Services and OSE will be required at least 3 weeks in advance for quoting and scheduling indoor cleaning.
  • On occasion, the university may cancel an event after approval if funds proved insufficient, work orders for required tech or security were not done, or other compelling circumstances.

Key Policies

Planning Tips

Planning Time

  • Consult with OSE and other university partners as soon as you begin your planning.
  • Remember, large scale events require a minimum lead time of six months and off-campus fundraising requires a minimum lead time of four months and early university approval.
  • Note: If this is a first-time event for your group, or the first-time your student organization is requesting approval for off-campus fundraising, the total amount approved for an off-campus fundraising proposal will be no more than $10,000-20,000.

Build a Budget

  • Include both expenses and income and a 'per participant cost' as part of your overall budget.
  • Develop a cost-conscious and realistic budget based on a reasonable guess of number of participants.
  • Consider inviting faculty as presenters/guest speakers.
  • Participants from other campuses will be expected to pay for their own lodging and travel.
    • You may be able to provide a small number of need-based scholarships, provided all other conference expenses receive funding first.

Get Funding

  • Exhaust on-campus funding sources prior to off-campus sources.
  • ASSU funding usually requires that your event is free for Stanford students.
  • You must have 80% of all necessary funds in your account before your event can be approved, a contract is signed, or the event is advertised.
  • If soliciting funds from multiple departments, plan on at least 4-6 weeks for transfers.  To expedite the process, give your potential funder the ASSU "holding number" and your individual account number right away.
  • Have one person keep track of all funding requests, offers, and transfers.
  • Request funds early (usually 3-4 months in advance), especially if you want to book an auditorium since auditoria costs are high.
  • The earlier you raise funds, the more flexibility you will have in your program format.
  • If applicable, remember the off-campus fundraising requirements:
    • Four month lead time
    • Off-Campus Fundraising Workshop
    • Application & early university approval

Find a Venue

  • Be sure to also order necessary equipment and services.
  • File all necessary work orders as soon as possible and at least 3 weeks in advance.

Contracts and Agreements

  • Student orgs cannot make offers or contractual commitments over $500 without OSE approval.​  See Contract Policy.
  • Submit your event for University approval ASAP.
  • VSOs may discuss, but do not commit to any plans until you have funds, space, and OSE approval.
  • written conference proposal must be submitted to OSE at least 4 months in advance for review and approval.

Advertise Your Event

  • Ticketed events must use an approved University vendor.
  • Off-campus advertising and work with the press should be discussed with OSE early in your planning.
  • Arranging for press with high profile speakers can be complicated and nuanced. Seek advice from OSE. 
  • Must clearly state that the event is being held by a student organization at Stanford, not Stanford University.

Host Guests

  • Set your hosting standards early and include them in your budget.
  • Minors, participants in physical activity, or long-term guests require waivers. VSO should complete the Working with Youth steps. 
  • Hosting high school or University students requires considerable planning, prior review and approval and a minimum of one volunteer for every 50 participants.

Security and Safety

  • Security can help with crowd control, traffic and security for high-profile visitors.  Ultimate security levels are determined by the Department of Public Safety.