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Event Planning Guide

Sponsorship/Co-Sponsorship Guidelines

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Policy Details

Student groups working with off-campus entities regarding event planning must follow the university policies and guidelines below. All activities conducted with off-campus entities must support Stanford's educational mission and the direct mission of the sponsoring recognized student organization. The guidelines exist to protect the university's tax status, the use of the Stanford name and Stanford's reputation.

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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. 


  • Student Initiation: Student organizations must initiate, lead and make all event decisions. Student groups cannot be used to gain entry to university facilities at the request of an off-campus sponsor even if the program or cause seems like a worthy one. Such a practice is considered "fronting" and is strictly prohibited.
  • Student Decision-making: The proposed off-campus sponsor cannot take the lead in planning or paying for any on-campus event (for example, creating their own curriculum or sponsoring their own speakers or paying the expenses for the event directly). 
  • Agreements and Contract: No university entity, including student groups, can enter into a verbal or written agreement with off-campus entities without prior university review and approval. Student groups cannot offer the use of the Stanford or student organization name, access to a "pre-selected" group of Stanford students or allow any entity to sell or promote its products or services. 
  • Attendance at an Event: An authorized representative of the student group must be in attendance for the entire event and must assume full responsibility for its execution.
  • Approvals: Any plans for off-campus involvement as a sponsor or funder must receive prior university approval by consulting directly with the Office of Student Engagement. This is expected even if the off-campus sponsor is not offering any financial assistance.
  • Career Exploration: 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. Events that involve recruiting, interviewing candidates, and/or promotion of the company or their products need to be conducted in partnership with Stanford Career Education
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  • Prior University Approval: If a student group is receiving some form of financial contribution to support their organization's programming and activities, this is considered a donation and must receive prior university approval, see Off-Campus Fundraising.
  • Deposit of Funds: All expenses must be incurred directly by the student group and monies received must be deposited into the group’s ASSU account through the Office of Development.
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Advertising and Promotion

  • Name of Event: The name of the event cannot include the name of the off-campus sponsor, although the off-campus sponsor can be cited as a co-sponsor. For example, "Resume Writing Workshop: What Off-campus Recruiters Look For" is OK. "Facebook Sponsors: How to Write a Resume" is not.
  • Student Org as Lead Sponsor: The student organization must be listed as the primary or lead sponsor. Any off-campus entity that is "sponsoring " or "assisting" with an event must be recognized in a way that is less prominent than the group and event name; using a smaller font type or logo.
  • Messaging: Any information describing the role of the off-campus sponsor cannot be commercial nor include a "call to action" since doing so would violate Stanford’s non-profit guidelines and tax law. Prohibited "call to action" information includes specific product information, prices or discounts.
  • Creation of Advertising Materials: The student organization must develop and execute all advertising and promotion, both on and off-campus. 
  • Web Use: The student organization's website must serve as the "home" location for all event promotion. In addition, sponsor recognition may only be used in materials directly related to the event promotion. Name and logo recognition is permissible on web pages directly promoting the event. Logos and other promotions are not acceptable on an org's homepage because this use could imply endorsement.
  • Banners and Signs: Banners are permitted on-site provided they are located on pre-approved locations such as tables and lounges. The size of the banner must be smaller than any general Stanford promotional materials and must be solely informational (for example, company name, location or logo).
  • Merchandise: Sponsors may distribute their own merchandise items if the value of the individual item does not exceed $50/person. Items of greater value (e.g. prizes) may be considered with prior approval by OSE.
  • Merchandise with Stanford Name/Logo: Sponsors may use the Stanford logo on an item for your event if it is manufactured by a licensed vendor, follows Stanford Design Guidelines and the company logo is less prominent than Stanford's, preferably on a different side. This merchandise may only be distributed at the event(s).
Main Quad architectural details, 2023. Credit: Micaela Go