Danforth Campus Facilities Access Policy

Washington University strives to create an environment that fosters discovery and learning and supports our academic, research, and patient-care mission.  Toward that end, the university makes a significant investment in its facilities for the use of faculty, staff and students as they pursue their academic and co-curricular activities.  The Danforth Campus Facilities Access Policy below sets forth the minimum requirements for reservation and use of Danforth Campus facilities, including facilities and spaces that are overseen by the individual Schools or other university Departments.  The university prioritizes our academic and research endeavors when considering requests for access to and use of its facilities.                   

WashU’s Event Management Department serves as a resource for those requesting and reserving university facilities and space on the Danforth campus.  Whether planning a group meeting, lecture, reception, or a large public event, all events are required to adhere to university policies and applicable local, state and federal law.   

I. Facility Usage

A.  Spaces Available

  1. For a complete list of Premier and Standard spaces available for reservation and additional policies and fees specific to those spaces, please visit Event Management.  Certain academic spaces and classrooms may be available for reservation when not in use for classes.  Links to contact information for other School and departmental-controlled spaces are on the Event Management website.
  2. The university is a private institution and retains the ability to prohibit or deny use of its facilities or spaces for any reason at the sole discretion of the university.

B. Who is eligible to reserve a space

  1. In order to facilitate engagement of our students, faculty and staff outside of classes, the university spaces on campus are intended to primarily serve current members of our university community. 
  2. University-recognized student organizations and departments receive priority when reserving spaces on campus. 
  3. Individual students are not able to reserve facilities except for certain spaces offered for studying or other academic-related work in the Danforth University Center, campus libraries, or the individual Schools.
  4. Individual faculty members may reserve their primary School or Department-controlled space in accordance with this policy and with School policy if needed to fulfill their academic responsibilities or as otherwise authorized by the university.
  5. University community members, alumni and individuals unaffiliated with the university may reserve certain facilities for weddings..  The university may require a certificate of insurance or purchase of an insurance policy through Insurance and Risk Management depending on the nature of the event and the facilities requested.
  6. Except as otherwise described herein, external individuals and organizations not affiliated with the university are not permitted to reserve university space during the academic year from August 1-May 31. 
    • Subject to certain restrictions around political activity, if an event is co-sponsored by a university recognized student organization or department, the department or student organization may reserve the space and invite the external individual or organization to participate.
    • The sponsoring department or student organization must serve as the primary organizer and point of contact, and it is responsible for the activities of the external participants.
    • External individuals and organizations not affiliated with the university may reserve certain spaces during the summer months of June and July and do not require sponsorship of a department or university recognized student organization. The university may require a certificate of insurance or purchase of an insurance policy through Insurance and Risk Management depending on the nature of the event and the facilities requested.   
    • External individuals and organizations not affiliated with the university may seek to reserve space at the Knight Center, Edison Theater and the Kemper Art Museum throughout the year in accordance with this Facilities Access policy and with additional Knight Center, Edison Theater, and Kemper Art Museum policies. 

C.             Reservations

  1. Reservation deadlines
    • To ensure a timely decision regarding approval and authorization, all requests to reserve facilities or campus spaces must be submitted no less than two weeks prior to the proposed event unless otherwise stated.  Depending upon the nature of the event, the university approval process may take at least two weeks or longer to review, and if needed, seek input from various campus departments such as the Washington University Police, Emergency Management, Environmental Health and Safety, Facilities Planning and Management, Insurance and Risk Management, Parking and Transportation, and others.  Accordingly, the university encourages our community members to submit their space reservation request well in advance of the deadline.     
    • For DUC or Oak Walk banners, South 40 underpass panels and DUC tables, reservation requests must be submitted no less than five days prior to the requested date of installation or display.   
  2. Requesting a space and A/V support
    • All internal reservation requests must be submitted through the online scheduling portals.  External organizations and individuals may contact Event Management or the appropriate School/Department point of contact.
    • In order to promote fair and equitable use of our limited facilities, Event Management or the School/department may consider the number and types of events requested by a sponsor when determining whether a reservation request will be approved.
    • If the requested space allows for multiple options for furniture setup or A/V equipment,  the requested setup and support must be selected in the portal.
  3. Reservation confirmation
    • Upon receipt of the space reservation request, Event Management or the School/department will review the request and determine whether additional review from other university departments is required.
    • Event Management or the School/department will provide written confirmation via email to the identified point of contact for the sponsoring organization or department if the reservation has been approved.  
  4. Reservation changes
    • Any requests to change the reservation must be made no less than three (3) business days prior to the event directly in writing to Event Management or the department scheduler.  Additional fees may be applied, depending on the timing and nature of the requested change, and the university reserves the right to cancel the reservation based upon the requested changes.
    • The university reserves the right to cancel any reservation or relocate an event if space is needed for other university-sponsored events or activities or as otherwise deemed appropriate by the university.
  5. Cancellations and No Shows
    • Reservations for Premier spaces may be cancelled by the event sponsor in writing no less than two weeks prior to the scheduled event.  Reservations for Standard spaces may be cancelled by the event sponsor online up to 3 business days before the scheduled event and in writing at any time.
    • If an individual or organization fails to cancel an event in writing in accordance with the deadlines above, the individual or organization will incur all charges that would have been incurred had the event taken place (space rental fees, cleaning, catering, and A/V rental).  The individual or organization may also lose scheduling privileges.

II. Facility Management

A. Amplified Sound

  1. Due to stringent noise control ordinances in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and in the municipalities surrounding the campus, outdoor events held on Washington University in St. Louis property involving the use of amplified sound equipment must receive advance approval and must follow the Amplified Sound Policy.

B. Animals

  1. In accordance with Washington University campus policies, no animals are allowed inside any university building except for service animals or approved assistance animals in university housing.
  2. The university also prohibits animal-related events or activities, including but not limited to petting zoos or “study breaks” with comfort/therapy animals brought in by external organizations.

C. Damages

  1. Event organizers and guests are expected to treat university facilities, furnishings, and property in a responsible manner and avoid damage. 
  2. All event organizers are responsible for any damage to the facility, furnishings, or other equipment during the course of an event, whether accidental or intentional. 
  3. Event organizers will be responsible for charges to return the facility or damaged item to its original condition.  The amount billed to the event organizer will be based upon the replacement cost, any labor required, and/or the final amount charged to Event Management to complete a repair.  The organization may lose the privilege of reserving space, and responsible individuals may also be referred for additional disciplinary action. 

D. Decorations and furnishings

  1. In order to ensure that university facilities do not sustain damage, certain decorations are prohibited, and installation methods are limited.  Any decorations must be approved by Event Management prior to the event.
  2. Nothing may be affixed to any wall, wood, furniture, or painted surface using putty, wire, tape, tacks, nails, glue, staples, or any material that will harm the finish or surface. 
  3. No paint or markings are permitted on walls, surfaces, or floors. 
  4. Any rehearsal or performance that requires tape on the floor must use non-residue (blue painter’s) tape.  All tape must be removed immediately after each reservation period and may not be left on the floor overnight.  Clients will be billed for removal of any tape that remains after their event.
  5. No helium balloons are permitted indoors without authorization from Event Management, nor may balloons be hung from the ceilings.
  6. Furniture and equipment are not to be moved to accommodate events or programs, except as previously approved and only by university-approved staff.  Specific furniture arrangements can often be accommodated through Event Management upon advance request.
  7. Additional prohibited items are listed below.

E. Deliveries, loading/unloading, parking

  1. Event Management is not able to accept deliveries on behalf of event organizers or store items ahead of the event. All items should be brought into the space when the reservation begins and must be removed prior to the end of the reservation time.
  2. All loading and unloading is to take place at designated loading/unloading zones for the facility where the event is taking place– cars may not be in any loading zone longer than 30 minutes.  Cars parked beyond that time in loading/unloading areas are subject to ticketing and tow at the owner’s expense.
  3. Event organizers and their guests must follow Parking and Transportation policies, using the required parking permits and/or visitor pay lots.

F. Vendors and Service Providers

  1. Vendors and event service providers (e.g., caterers, florists, entertainers, DJs, etc.) are required to follow all university policies, including those outlined in this document.  All vendors and service providers must follow directives given to them by Event Management personnel. 
  2. Certain spaces may have limitations on the vendors that may be hired to provide services (e.g., catering, musicians).
  3. Vendors bringing in any equipment must coordinate with Event Management in advance of setting up their equipment.
  4. The university may require that vendors or service providers provide a Certificate of Insurance (COI) and name the university as an additional insured.

G. Fees and billing

  1. The University may impose certain fees to reserve facilities.  A chart outlining examples of some of these fees is available on the Event Management website.

H. Fundraising

  1. Solicitation of funds on university property or at university events by persons not employed by the university or otherwise authorized by the university is prohibited in accordance with the Solicitation and Distribution policy
  2. University-recognized student organizations may engage in approved fundraising activities to collect monetary or other philanthropic contributions for their student organization or for an external charitable organization. The Office of Campus Life will review requests to engage in fundraising activities and can assist with planning and advising student organizations on acceptable fundraising activities.  

I. Tobacco-Free Policy

  1. All university campuses and facilities (including parking lots) are entirely smoke and tobacco free, including electronic cigarettes and personal vaporizers.

J. Prohibited Items

  1. To prevent damage to university facilities and allow for ease in clean up and preparation for future events, Event Management prohibits the use of the following:

Difficult to clean items

  • Candles and (melted candle wax)
  • Dance Powder
  • Glitter
  • Hay
  • Sand
  • Silly String
  • Confetti of any kind

Potentially damaging items

  • Aerosol Sprays (including paint and glue)
  • Tape (except painters tape)
  • Smoke/Fog Machines (leaking liquids) (see Section 3.10 for more information)
  • Cinder Blocks or Paving Stones
  • Burning Incense

Items which pose a fire risk

  • ANY cooking appliances (hot plates, electric griddles, popcorn machines, etc.)
  • Non-flame-retardant curtains/fabrics/papier mache (curtains/fabrics in use must have proof of flame retardant treatment or quality)
  • Fireworks (including sparklers)
  • Open flames–including candles
  • Propane or any other fuel or accelerant
  • Helium and helium filled balloons
  1. Use of these items, or anything of a similar damaging nature, may result in suspension of reservation privileges and the assessment of fees to repair the damage and restore the facility.

K. Facility Cleaning

  1. Events that provide food or drink or that allow attendees to consume food and drink at the event will be assessed a cleaning fee, both before and after the event. 

L. Copyright and Film policies

  1. Event Management reserves the right to request proof that event organizers have secured permission to use copywritten material. If event organizers do not have proof, Event Management may cancel the event in question or hold confirmation of event until proof can be obtained.
  2. Event sponsors are required to adhere to the university’s Film Policy

III. Safety and Security

A. Event sponsor responsibility

  1. The event sponsor is responsible for the safety, security, and actions of their event guests/participants.
  2. The event sponsor is also responsible for ensuring the completion of all relevant forms related to the event, including but not limited to any required Certificates of Insurance, permits, inspections, and security forms through WUPD, among others.
  3. Event sponsors will be responsible for the costs incurred by the university to support event safety/security, as well as for clean-up/maintenance.

B. Safety planning and crowd control

  1. The university prioritizes the safety of all participants and guests attending an event, and event organizers may be required to retain event security.  Event organizers will be held responsible for ensuring that required paths of egress to exit doors are open and clear.  Attendance may not exceed the maximum capacity for the venue and specific event set-up.  Individuals engaging in behaviors that compromise safety of themselves, other individuals, or the facility will be asked to stop immediately and may be asked to leave the event.    

C. Demonstrations and Disruptions

  1. The university is committed to an environment that fosters open expression of our faculty, staff and students and encourages vigorous inquiry and debate.  There are certain locations on campus conducive to open expression and protest and debate.  University community members will be held responsible for adhering to our Demonstrations and Disruptions policy.  Event organizers will be held responsible for the actions of their guests or participants who violate this policy. 

D. Emergency procedures

  1. In the event of an emergency, event sponsors and guests are required to follow directions of Event Management staff and university emergency personnel.  During a fire alarm, all persons in a university space are required to exit the building quickly and in an orderly manner.   

E.  Photography and Filming in University Facilities

  1. Event sponsors who wish to film or photograph university spaces, events, or individuals on university property must follow University Marketing and Communications policies.  Advance approval may be required, depending upon the nature of the event.

F. Inflatables/amusement

  1. If an event sponsor wishes to include an inflatable or amusement game attraction, such attractions must be provided by a licensed and insured third-party vendor given the safety risks involved. Other requirements may be imposed by the university as part of the pre-approval review process, depending upon the nature of the activity proposed. 

G. Minors under 18

  1. Events organized for minor participants (individuals under 18 years of age) may require university background checks to be performed.  In addition, advance approval of the proposed event may be required by the Youth Protection Committee in accordance with the university’s Youth Protection Policy.

H. Open flames/Fireworks/Pyrotechnics

  1. Open flames, explosives, fireworks and pyrotechnics are not permitted on university property or at university events unless an exception is granted pursuant to our Policy on Weapons, Explosives or Fireworks.

I. Performance Venues

  1. University departments and recognized student organizations often produce theatrical, dance, or musical performances in venues that have additional policies specific to the venue and require additional safety planning as well as inspections.  Event organizers are expected to work with Event Management or the relevant department that oversees the venue to ensure the safety of the cast, crew, performers, and guests attending or participating in the event.      

J. Political Activity

  1. As a 501(c)(3) organization, there are restrictions on the use of university resources to engage in political activity. Event sponsors are required to comply with the Guidance on Political, Campaign and Lobbying Activity. Advance approval of the proposed event may be required by the Office of Government and Community Relations, particularly before invitations are extended to host elected officials or political candidates/parties.  Event sponsors should contact the Office of Government and Community Relations for further information.  

K. Security/Campus Police

  1. Some events may require hiring the Washington University Police Department or other contracted security personnel, in addition to implementation of other security measures.  By way of example, events at which more than 100 individuals are anticipated to be in attendance, concerts or other outdoor events with amplified sound, or events where alcohol will be served may require additional security. Event organizers are responsible for covering any costs associated with additional security, such as fencing, contract security, or police overtime costs.
  2. Event sponsors are strongly encouraged to contact WUPD no less than four weeks prior to the proposed event date to give the appropriate university departments the necessary time to review the proposed event and discuss it with the event sponsor if needed.  Event sponsors are required to provide an Event Plan to WUPD that includes but is not limited to a clear run-of-show (with start/end time), crowd control procedure/staffing, entrance plan (ID/bag check, staffing, etc.) and disbursement of crowd following the event, along with the point of contact for security and university staff to communicate with on the day of the event.
  3. WUPD retains authority to determine the number of officers or security personnel needed for the event and for what length of time as well as any other security measures necessary. 
  4. Security must be hired for a minimum of four hours. Security will be provided beginning at least one-half hour before the event and end at least one-half hour after the event.
  5. Failure to provide the final contracts obtaining required security personnel to Event Management one week prior to the event will result in the event being cancelled.
  6. Failure of the required number of police officers or contracted security personnel to show up on the date of the event and report for the event may result in the event being cancelled or modified, at the sole discretion of the university, in consultation with WUPD.  

L. Strobe lights, smoke/fog machines

  1. Strobe lights may cause health issues for certain individuals. Strobe lights are allowed in enclosed areas only. Event sponsors using strobe lights must set them to flash no more than 5 flashes per second and must also post signage outside the event to inform guests a strobe light is in use.
  2. The use of smoke or fog machines will set off fire alarms within our facilities and accordingly are prohibited inside of any building.

M. Transportation

  1. All event sponsors and individuals in attendance must comply with Parking and Transportation policies.

N. Use of outside equipment (e.g., AV, tents, stages)

  1. Outside equipment such as DJ equipment, lighting, sound/PA system, inflatables/amusements, tents, staging, temporary structures or other equipment that draws a significant amount of power must be approved in advance by Event Management.  Temporary permits and safety inspections may be required.

O. Weapons

  1. In accordance with the Policy on Weapons, Explosives, or Fireworks, Washington University prohibits the use, possession, distribution, or storage of weapons, explosives, or fireworks by any person on any university-owned or controlled property and at any university-sponsored activity or event, regardless of location. Any implied possession or threat of use of a weapon will also be considered a violation.

IV. Food and Beverage

A. Alcohol

  1. If alcohol is permitted to be served in a reserved space, licensed and insured third-party vendors are required to serve the alcohol and check official identification of attendees.  Event organizers will be expected to comply with all university policies related to alcohol. 
  2. If alcohol or food is permitted to be served in a reserved space, the event sponsor is required to comply with the university’s Alcohol, Food and Beverage policies, in addition to any venue-specific policies.    

B. Catering

  1. Several university spaces have exclusive catering vendors to provide food and beverage services for events held in those spaces.  Event sponsors may not provide their own food or beverages at events held in these spaces.    

C. Food Trucks

  1. If an event sponsor would like to request the opportunity to host a food truck as part of its event, Dining Services must provide written approval no less than two weeks prior to the date of the event.

D. Self-Prepared Food

  1. Self-prepared food is not permitted to be served at events or tabling activities, nor may self-prepared food be sold as part of a fundraising activity.  All food must be commercially prepared. 

V. Solicitation, Advertising and Marketing

A. Solicitation and Distribution

  1. Solicitation and distribution of literature on university property is restricted and must follow the university Solicitation and Distribution policy.
  2. Persons not employed or otherwise authorized by the university are prohibited from soliciting funds or signatures, distributing literature or gifts, offering to sell merchandise or services or engaging in any other solicitations or similar activity on university property.
  3. With the exception of university-sanctioned activities, employees may not solicit during work time, may not distribute literature during work time or in work areas, and may not use the university’s email system for non-job related solicitations or distributions.
  4. Solicitation of any kind in any university residential facility is prohibited.  This includes but is not limited to door-to-door sales, signature drives, flyers, or product parties.

B. Advertising and Marketing

  1. University registered student organizations and departments are encouraged to publicize and promote their events, activities, and services to the university community through social media as well as traditional forms of advertising and promotion such as posters and flyers.
  2. All students, faculty and staff are expected to respect the materials posted by other organizations and individuals. Removing, posting, writing over, deleting, or erasing other active postings is not permitted and could subject an individual or organization to disciplinary action.
  3. All advertisements, promotions, or other materials disseminated to the university community or others advertising events, activities, or services being held on campus, including dissemination on social media or using other campus electronic and IT resources, must clearly state:
    • the registered student organization, department, or individual student or employee sponsoring the event or activity
    • the name, telephone number and/or email address of the point of contact; and
    • the title and date of the event, activity or service or the date of the posting
  4. All advertisements, promotions, or other materials disseminated to the university community or others, including dissemination on social media or using other campus electronic and IT resources, advertising off-campus events, activities, or services that are sponsored in whole or in part by the university, a School or Department, or a university-recognized student organization, must clearly state:
    • the registered student organization, department, or School sponsoring the event or activity
    • the name, telephone number and/or email address of the point of contact; and
    • the title and date of the event, activity, or service or the date of the posting
  5. Anonymous postings advertising events on or off campus without identification of a sponsoring registered student organization, department or university student or employee may be removed by the university.
  6. All advertisements, promotions, or other materials disseminated to the university community using university spaces or resources or using social media to advertise or promote events or activities on or off campus as described above must comply with the additional provisions set forth in the university’s Advertising and Marketing Policy.

VI. Contact Information

If there are questions regarding this policy or other policies referenced herein, visit the Event Management website or contact Event Management staff.

Updated January 26, 2024