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Working with Companies

Overview

We are here to support you in planning meaningful events that align with Stanford’s educational mission. When it comes to working with 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 non-profit entity, Stanford’s resources cannot be used to promote the commercial and marketing interests of off-campus companies.

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. There are three types of events that happen with companies:

  • Educational Events: designed for students to learn about an industry, technique, or concept, as opposed to a particular company or organization (examples: lectures, panels, etc.)
  • Career Exploration Events: supports students to network with company representatives and learn about opportunities in the industry but no recruitment happens on site (examples: info sessions, networking nights, social mixers)
  • Commercial Events: events that involve recruiting or promotion of the company or their products. VSOs are not authorized to host this type of event. See below for more information.

Educational Events

Student organizations can bring representatives from off-campus companies and non-profit organizations to support students’ leadership and learning if the topic is aligned with the VSO’s mission.

These events must be student-led and serve and educational purpose:

Student-led:

  • The programming and content should be led and managed by the VSO and not by outside companies.
  • Student organizations cannot charge a fee to host companies
  • VSOs need approval from OSE to obtain permission to solicit a limited number of off-campus sponsors (see Off-Campus Fundraising)

Educational purpose:

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

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 21st Century” and includes speakers from General Motors and Tesla
  • 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.
  • Stanford Artificial Intelligence Group hosts a hand-on workshop with a local technology company. The company showcases how AI is used in their product. Students get a chance to interact with the product and learn about various aspects of it

Tips for making your event educational

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

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, check out Sponsorship Guidelines

Resumes:

  • Exchange of resumes during events is prohibited because it changes the educational nature of the event.
  • Students can upload their resume through Handshake so any interested company can view their resumes.
  • 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. However, student organizations may choose to provide a company a list of their members so the company can view their resumes through Handshake. If so, the company should create an account with BEAM on Handshake if they do not have one already. BEAM usually responds to these requests within 1-2 business days.

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 the technology, finance, environmental issues, etc. behind a product rather than marketing the product itself
  • “Call to action” is prohibited, examples include specific product information, prices, or discounts

Career Exploration Events

VSOs can host events that support students’ career exploration and provide them with the opportunity to network with representatives from companies and learn about their work but companies cannot recruit at these events.

Student organizations are allowed to host off-campus companies to present info sessions on campus to provide students with information about the company, with the understanding that:

  • Company cannot advertise or recruit for specific positions or collect student resumes.
  • Company should work with BEAM to create an account on Handshake, if they do not have one already. BEAM usually responds to these requests within 1-2 business days.
  • Student organizations cannot accept gifts or donations in exchange for hosting specific events. Any financial sponsorship should be in accordance with our Sponsorship Guidelines and Off-campus Fundraising Policy.
  • Companies should sign a Recruiting Agreement with OSE. VSOs should contact OSE to obtain the agreement.

Examples:

  • Stanford Energy Club hosts a mixer
    • (Allowed) Networking: They invite 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 and about work culture. Alumni can share business cards
    • (Not allowed)Recruiting: Alumni promote company benefits, open positions, and/or collect resumes. They offer to hold interviews after the event.
  • Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics hosts an info session
    • (Allowed) Networking: Women working for major companies in the aviation industry to help students explore career opportunities in this field. Representatives from companies are present at the event to tell students about their work.
    • (Not allowed) Recruiting: The club prepares a resume book to provide to the panelists. The panelists also share that there will be an Aeronautics and Astronautics job fair the following week.

 

Important considerations

Flyers and promotional materials:

  • Can include company name in the title but should make it clear that the VSO is co-organizer of the event, ex. “Society of Women Engineers at Stanford presents with General Motors”
  • Should not imply promotion of the company or their product(s) by Stanford or the VSO
  • For more information, check out Sponsorship Guidelines

Resumes:

  • Exchange of resumes during events is prohibited because it changes the nature of the event.
  • Students can upload their resume through Handshake so any interested company can view their resumes.
  • 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. However, student organizations may choose to provide a company a list of their members so the company can view their resumes through Handshake. If so, the company should create an account with BEAM on Handshake if they do not have one already. BEAM usually responds to these requests within 1-2 business days.

Company representatives:

  • Can be present to connect and network with students but cannot advertise specific positions, collect resumes, or schedule interviews.
  • “Call to action” is prohibited, examples include specific product information, prices, or discounts.

Commercial Events

In order to protect the University’s non-profit status, student organizations cannot host or sponsor commercial events such as recruiting events for off-campus entities or allow testing companies (e.g. Kaplan, Princeton Review etc.) to market or offer classes. 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.

If a company approaches you to organize a recruiting session, you may refer them to BEAM which can help them take the right steps. All commercial and recruiting events need to be fully paid for and organized by the company. If on campus, commercial events can only occur in Tresidder Memorial Union or the Faculty Club. Companies can connect with Tresidder Meeting Services or the Faculty Club to reserve a space.

Companies should work with BEAM to create an account on Handshake, if they do not have one already. BEAM usually responds to these requests within 1-2 business days.

Student organizations cannot accept gifts or donations in exchange for hosting specific events. Any financial sponsorship should be in accordance with our Sponsorship Guidelines and Off-campus Fundraising Policy.

Example:

  • A group includes the company logo in their event marketing and it is not clear which student organization is hosting the event. The company representative offers special discounts to students.

About BEAM

BEAM, Stanford Career Education, is the on-campus organization approved to plan and host employer recruiting events. Student organizations cannot host an employer recruiting event without formal approval from BEAM. BEAM works with employers across industries to plan and host a variety of events including career fairs and industry mixers each year. BEAM creates and plans these events based on student interests, industry trends, and recruiting cycles. Join 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.


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