Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

Taking Care of Ourselves & Each Other

Health & Well-Being

Event Planning Guide

Engaging Companies

Main content start

Policy Details

We are here to support you in planning meaningful events that align with Stanford’s educational mission. When it comes to working with companies and other external entities that may be involved with commercial efforts such as selling a product or recruiting , there is a need to assess how student organizations work with these entities. 

Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line


Event Planning Guidelines

Recognized student organizations have the privilege of sponsoring events in the name of Stanford provided that they follow university policy, stay true to their approved mission and scope and work in close coordination with the university. 


Access to Stanford students and resources is a privilege for recognized VSOs in good standing with the Office of Student Engagement. 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 a donation. 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.

Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

Event Involving An off-Campus Entity

If you are hosting an event that involves an off-campus entity, it is important to manage the program such that it aligns with policy set by OSE and  the University’s educational mission. There are three types of events that usually happen with external entities. The first two event types are acceptable, and the third event type is not allowed by OSE:

  • Educational Events: designed for students to learn about an industry, technique, or concept, as opposed to a particular company or organization (examples: lectures, panels, resume review, mock interviews, experiential workshops etc.)
  • Career Exploration Events: supports students to network with company representatives and learn about opportunities in the industry but no candidate interviews or selections can happen on site (examples: industry-focused info sessions, networking nights, social mixers)
  • Promotional and Recruiting Events: Events that involve recruiting, interviewing candidates, and/or promotion of the company or their products. VSOs are not authorized to host this type of event. See below for more information.
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

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, and is open to your membership and any Stanford student that demonstrates an interest to join your organization and can be included in your event. These events must be student-led and serve and educational purpose.


  • 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.


  • 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
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

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


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
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

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.Student organizations are allowed to host external entities that provide career exploration events. In general, OSE asks that VSO’s that intend to work with external entities on career-focused events, do so in consultation with Stanford Career Education (CareerEd) by doing the following: 


  • Stanford Energy Club hosts a mixer
    • (Exploration) 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 Exploration) Recruiting: Alumni promote company benefits, open positions, and/or collect resumes. They offer to hold interviews on site after the event.
  • Women in Aeronautics and Astronautics hosts an info session
    • (Exploration) 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 Exploration) 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.
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

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


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.
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

Promotional  & Recruiting Events

To protect the University’s non-profit status, student organizations cannot host commercial or recruiting events. Commercial events are designed to sell or promote products and services. Recruiting events generally promote employment applications and usually involve an information session, resume collection, and/or interviewing. However, if an event is hosted independently by a company after completing the correct steps with Stanford Career Education, VSOs can publicize such events among their membership provided that it aligns with the organization’s scope.

If a company approaches a VSO to organize an interview, refer them to the Employer Relations and Outcomes team at CareerEd via email. 

If a commercial recruiting event is held on campus, these events can only occur in Tresidder Memorial Union, the Faculty Club, Paul Brest Hall, Munger Auditorium or CareerEd. All commercial and recruiting events need to be fully paid for and organized by the company. Once the event location is confirmed, companies should work with CareerEd to create an account and post the event on Handshake, if they do not have one already. CareerEd usually responds to account creation requests within 72 hours.

Student organizations cannot accept gifts or donations in exchange for hosting commercial or recruiting events. Any financial sponsorship should be in accordance with our Sponsorship Guidelines and Off-campus Fundraising Policy. Student Organizations are not allowed to pay for employers to put on any such event; payment includes paying to book space, buying food, or direct payments. By engaging in these payments, student organizations would be utilizing their Stanford-provided and student-provided funding for the betterment of an outside entity, which would jeopardize the University’s non-profit status. Using the budget in support of an outside entity requires prior approval, which will not be granted as those funding resources are meant for (1) "teaching, research, and other educational functions" and (2) club use as demonstrated in and voted on in their proposed budget. 


  • An employer would like to host a recruiting  info session and ask a VSO to reserve a space at a classroom. The VSO identifies this is a recruiting session and makes the referral to The CareerEd team will follow up about event space recommendations and Handshake instructions. 
  • A VSO is interested in hosting a Career Fair. Student Organizations are not allowed to host career fairs as this is the sole responsibility of Stanford Career Education and other Stanford Career Centers. In doing so, the VSO would be participating in "unrelated business activities" as forbidden by Guiding Policy and Principle 1.5.3. Instead, connect with CareerEd at for potential collaboration or connection.
Neighborhood Themed Decorative Accent Line

About Stanford Career Education (CareerEd)

Stanford Career Education, is the primary on-campus organization approved to plan and host employer recruiting events. CareerEd works with employers across industries to plan and host a variety of events including career fairs, on-campus, virtual interviews and recruiting events each year for all Stanford students. CareerEd creates and plans these events based on student interests, industry recruiting needs and  cycles. Please reach out to CareerEd via email to learn more.

If your organization would like to partner with CareerEd on one of their existing events, or has an idea for a new event, please reach out to CareerEd via email.  CareerEd will review all requests and provide feedback within two weeks of receiving the requests.

Main Quad architectural details, 2023. Credit: Micaela Go