A Message from the Department of Student Activities:

We recognize that you play a critical role in your student organization, and now, more than ever, you need to continue to lead. All leaders need a toolkit to help them navigate challenges, and we, in the Department of Student Activities, will continue to provide valuable updates, resources, and recommendations. Let us know how we can support you and your organization!

Dr. Christine Gravelle, Director

Check here for the latest Student Org Updates: 

Student Organization Update 6.2.21

Click here to find out more about: 

  • Campus Engagement & Traditions
  • Extended Orientation
  • Leadership & Service Center
  • Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life
  • Student Organization Development & Administration (SODA)
  • Student Organization Finance Center (SOFC)

Contact our offices to set up appointments or get your questions answered.  

Email SODA to ask student organization-related questions.

Visit the SOFC on their virtual platforms: 

YouTube: tx.ag/SOFCOnDemand

Virtual Office Hours: tx.ag/SOFCVirtualOfficeHours

Please find all of our previous communications and protocol updates linked below: 

Student Organization Update 6.2.21

Student Organization Event Planning Guidance

Keep the following guidelines, best practices, and recommendations in mind as you engage in event planning activities with your student group or organization.  As a reminder, Student Rule 42.4 states that, “It is expected that all student organizations will have their events, whether on or off campus, reviewed and approved by their university advisor(s).”   

While not an exhaustive list, the following are items and actions your organization should consider when planning and implementing in-person programs and events.  Please note that “meetings” may occur in-person, hybrid, or virtually.   

Meetings

Assembly of members of a student organization or committee gathering for organizational business and includes limited activities (can be in-person, hybrid, or virtual).

In-Person Events

Assembly of members of a student organization or committee and/or outside guests (non-members) gathering in-person for a specific purpose that may include increased activity or risk.  An event planning form may be required.

  • Consider on/off-campus location, indoor vs. outdoor, size, type, crowd density, air flow
  • Understand reservations process for key event spaces (UCEN, Rudder, Rec Sports)
  • Talk to facility staff EARLY to use their expertise in the planning process (capacity, traffic flow, seating, cleaning, technology, accommodations, etc.)
  • Know what is required to secure space, including signatures and account information
  • Create inclement weather and hydration plans and establish “cool zones” (if outdoors)
  • Submit necessary event approvals as instructed by facility proctor or service provider
  • Understand facility-specific food and catering policies/limitations 
  • Review campus policies regarding food distribution
  • Follow food handling best practices with extra safety and sanitation precautions (sneeze guards, increased distance between seating, etc.) 
  • Limit shared food (bread, condiments, cream/sugar) by serving individual containers
  • Maximize physical distance and minimize contact between participants 
  • Encourage participants to self-screen for symptoms prior to event and stay home if symptoms are present
  • Ensure access to hand washing/sanitizing stations or supplies, and build in breaks and reminders for participants to do this frequently
  • Prevent overcrowding in spaces by staggering departure/arrival times, moving groups in small batches, or reserving extra space for group work
  • Immediately report any known infectious disease cases, that have or may have occurred as the result of your event, to Texas A&M University
  • Proactively determine the criteria and protocols for cancelling an event (before or during) or sending participants and/or staff home due to health or safety concerns
  • Regularly clean high-touch surfaces and common areas during your event 
  • Make “safety items” available, including: hand wipes/sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and disposable masks 
  • Follow university guidance regarding face coverings 
  • Understand and follow university, local, state, and federal requirements
  • Consider if additional protocols beyond those outlined above will provide a better experience for participants
  • Ensure event protocols are not perpetuating stigmas or discrimination 
  • Have well-prepared communications and crisis management plans
  • Establish operational roles for your event, including backup positions should the primary role be unable to attend in-person
  • Create strong contingency plans for featured guests. in case of cancellation
  • Utilize RSVPs, reserved/assigned seating, and sign-ins to manage event attendance and contact tracing
  • Utilize QR codes to access “screening” checks at event entrances
  • For ticketed events or paperless ticketing options, consider using services such as the MSC Box Office or Texas A&M Marketplace 
  • Consult with advisor/s, university administration, and subject matter experts in advance 
  • For additional review, submit event planning details using the MaroonLink event planning form at least two weeks prior to your event, and update as needed
  • Use consistent signage and language at all events
  • Place signage in high traffic areas to remind participants of health and safety protocols
  • Emphasize participant and featured guest expectations before and during event, especially regarding health and safety protocols
  • Utilize digital platforms to share details and supplemental materials for your event
  • Anticipate and draft expected communication needs for cancelling, rescheduling, and pivoting program delivery 
  • Realistically market and communicate what the event experience will entail
  • Follow the University Concessions Process if selling or distributing items on campus
  • Access in-person or virtual Student Organization Finance Center services for your banking needs
  • Review contract language regarding cancellations, modifications, rescheduling to avoid penalties/loss of funds 
  • Determine and communicate factors that may lead to event cancellation and whether refunds will be offered
  • Consider student organization or other special funding opportunities to supplement event budgets, especially those that may have been impacted by reduced programming
  • Document event planning details, lessons learned, and stakeholder contact information
  • Prioritize the transition of event planning information and context to next year’s student leadership
  • Conduct program evaluations, especially if adjusted event components (e.g. hybrid or virtual aspects, health and safety protocols) were implemented
  • Determine if adjusted event components would be value-added in future programs

Beyond the items listed above, hybrid and virtual events will require the use of technology (laptops, sound equipment, video conferencing, live streaming, etc.) and should be considered for those not comfortable or unable to attend in-person. Consider these best practices if hosting a hybrid or virtual event:

Hybrid Events

Assembly of members of a student organization or committee and/or outside guests (non-members) gathering in-person and virtually for a specific purpose that may include increased activity or risk. An event planning form may be required.

Virtual Events

Assembly of members of a student organization or committee and/or outside guests (non-members) gathering virtually-only for a specific purpose.

  • Understand cost and access associated with various technologies
  • Determine which platform you will utilize for programs (Zoom resources)
  • Test equipment and software with featured guests to ensure audio/video quality
  • Communicate participation expectations and virtual etiquette prior to event 
  • Train members to moderate video/chat feeds
  • Identify a plan of action for how to handle and report incidents
  • Start virtual components in advance of start time to welcome participants
  • Ensure streamed content aligns with policies and limitations of the platform being used
  • Record sessions that will be on-demand ahead of time
  • Prepare ‘Call To Action’ moments (polls, chat-based questions, live Q&A, etc.) to engage participants
  • Ensure technology is inclusive and accessible (use of alt text, captioning, etc.)
  • Secure the rights and/or authority to broadcast streaming content including music, videos, logos, etc.  
  • Recognize that communication may be limited between in-person and virtual attendees 
  • Consider the sustainability implications of hybrid and virtual events (zoom fatigue, accessibility, cost, etc.)

In addition to the above guidelines and health and safety protocols, travel events and youth programs will have unique considerations: 

Travel or Overnight Events

Travel that is undertaken by student/s to reach an activity organized or sponsored by the University or recognized student organization and located more than 25 miles from the site where the student is enrolled.  A travel information form must be submitted at least 48 hours prior to domestic travel.  For international travel, contact Education Abroad.

University Youth Programs

A program that includes participants under the age of 18 where care, custody, and/or control of the minor/s is the university, recognized student organization, and/or a third party’s responsibility.  

  • Review all travel guidelines and restrictions (domestic and international) supplemental to University Rule 13.04.99.M1
  • Limit capacity in vehicles (personal or chartered) where possible 
  • Limit room capacity in hotel rooms (recommended one student per bed)
  • Establish a protocol that identifies steps that will be taken in the event a participant becomes ill or symptomatic, including the location of the closest medical facilities 

 If planning a Youth Program, review all University guidelines regarding camps and youth programs.

For further questions or support as you plan meetings and events for your student group or organization, please feel free to contact the following offices:

Other Helpful Resources