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Commercial Activity


Stanford’s resources support the university’s mission of creating, preserving and disseminating knowledge. The university’s assets must be used for these purposes, and not for the personal gain of individuals’ or outside parties’ that do not further Stanford’s academic objectives. The university receives frequent requests for access to its resources by outside entities, typically in exchange for some form of compensation to Stanford. Many of these, if granted, would constitute unrelated business activities. Therefore, permission to engage in unrelated business activities at Stanford may be granted only by the provost.

In order to avoid violations of "unrelated business activity", student groups must consult Office of Student Engagement (OSE) before engaging in any agreements or plans for sales, fundraisers, commercial/corporate sponsorships or endorsements with third parties from a non-Stanford entity.  These include:

  • Sponsorships. Off-campus entities cannot sponsor or co-sponsor student events, although they can donate funds, goods or services in support of an organization's year long operations, programming and activities. See the off-campus fundraising policy for details.
  • Endorsements. Student groups or their members cannot endorse a product or service. Individual endorsements can be used provided they do not make any connection with your student group. An off-campus entity can list the name of the student organization as a client.
  • Company Logos. Logos can be used on event publicity for a student organization activity provided that the Stanford University, student organization and event name is the most prominent feature. In order to avoid the appearance of endorsements, company logos cannot be used on student organizations websites, t-shirts or other items, unless directly related to an event. 
  • Stanford Trademarks. Student groups cannot give off-campus entities Stanford’s emblems, including the Stanford Seal, the Block S with Tree and the plain Block S for use even connected with a student org event or activity.
  • Signed Agreements. Student groups should not sign agreements with third-parties guaranteeing their sponsorship, use of their logos or access to Stanford students or the university.

Related Policies and Resources