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Working with Companies

Overview

We are here to support you in planning meaningful events that aligns with Stanford’s educational mission. When it comes to working companies, the line becomes blurred between what is educational and what is commercial. Access to Stanford’s resources, from funding to venues, is a privilege that recognized VSOs enjoy. At times, off-campus entities may try to use a group’s VSO status to access these resources for free or in exchange for favors such as donations. This is called fronting and is strictly prohibited. As a not-for-profit entity, Stanford’s resources cannot be used to promote the commercial and marketing interests of off-campus entities.

If you are hosting an event that involves an off-campus company, it is important to curate the program such that it aligns with the University’s educational mission. See below for tips on how to make your event educational and not commercial.

Info sessions, recruiting sessions, and promotional events are commercial events and cannot be hosted or sponsored by student VSOs. If a company is interested in hosting such an event, they must connect with BEAM, Stanford Career Education. BEAM works with employers across industries to plan and host a variety of events including career fairs and industry mixers each year. See below for more information.

Educational Events

Student organizations can bring representatives from off-campus companies and non-profit organizations to assist students with career exploration provided that the events are planned as educational activities and not recruiting sessions. This distinction is important to protecting the University's tax-exempt status.

What makes for an educational event?

The purpose of the event is educational:

  • The event is designed for students to learn about an industry, technique, or concept, as opposed to a particular company or organization.

The event is student-led:

  • The event is directly planned by the student organization, not fronted
  • The programming and content should be led and managed by the student group
  • Student organizations cannot charge a fee to host companies
  • Student groups can work with OSE to obtain permission to solicit a limited number of off-campus sponsors in accordance with our Off-Campus Fundraising Policy and Sponsorship Guidelines

Tips for making your event educational

  • Have clear and open communication with the company that this is not a recruiting event
  • Partner with academic departments
  • Invite a representative panel from different companies in the industry

Examples

  • Stanford Women in Finance plans an educational workshop entitled “Hedge Funds 101” and invites a panel of speakers from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.
  • Stanford Real Estate Club invites local real estate businesses that have property in San Francisco Financial District to explore avenues for investing in real estate.
  • Society of Black Scientists and Engineers hosts an event on the subject of “AI Technology in the Automotive Industry in the 21 Century” and includes speakers from General Motors and Tesla
  • Stanford Energy Club hosts a Networking Mixer inviting alumni who work in the energy industry with the goal of facilitating connections between alumni and current students. The session is open to all students. Alumni share their experiences in the industry but are not recruiting for their companies.
  • Stanford Women in Design hosts a product demo by a local startup presenting on how they design their products to be environmentally sustainable. The presenter does not urge students to make purchases or offer them special discounts.

Important Considerations

Flyers and promotional materials

  • Should make it clear that the VSO is the principal organizer of the event, ex. “Society of Women Engineers at Stanford presents…”
  • Should not imply promotion of the company or their product(s) by Stanford or the VSO
  • Should not include company names in the title (however, speakers and their affiliations can be promoted, ex. “Speaker: Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple”
  • For more information, see our Sponsorship Guidelines

Resumes

  • Exchange of resumes during events is prohibited because it changes the educational nature of the event.
  • Student organizations are not permitted to prepare or sell resume books.
  • Student organizations should not give their members special access to companies because it is not consistent with Stanford’s principles of equal access.
  • Student organizations may choose to provide a company a list of their members so the company can view their resumes through Handshake.

Product demos

  • Depending on how the event is organized, demos can be educational (permissible) or commercial (not permissible)
  • To make your event more educational, center your event around technology, finance, environmental issues, etc. behind a product rather than the product itself

Commercial Events

(e.g. Info Sessions, Recruiting Events, Testing Companies)

Student organizations cannot host or sponsor commercial events such as info sessions and recruiting events for off-campus entities, including product showcase by off-campus testing companies (e.g. Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc.). However, if an event is hosted independently by a company after completing the correct steps, VSOs can publicize such events among their membership provided that it aligns with the organization’s scope.

Employers are allowed to host info sessions on campus to provide students with information about the company and available internships or job opportunities, if the event follows University policies. To host an info session, the company should contact BEAM and create an account on Handshake, if they do not have one already. BEAM usually responds to these requests within 1-2 business days.

About BEAM

BEAM, Stanford Career Education, is the on-campus organization approved to plan and host employer recruiting events. BEAM works with employers across industries to plan and host a variety of events including Career Fairs and Industry Mixers each year. These events are created and planned based upon student interests, industry trends and recruiting cycles.  Check Handshake or reach out to BEAM to learn about events that are relevant to your student organization members. 

If your organization would like to partner with BEAM on one of their existing events, or has an idea for a new event, please reach out to BEAM.  BEAM will review all requests and provide feedback within two weeks.  No student organization is allowed to host an employer recruiting event without formal approval from BEAM.


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