Spring 2022 Update:

As per the Dean’s email on January 14, until further notice, in-person attendance at public events, including reviews, is restricted to HUID holders only. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis, and anyone seeking an exception may contact Trevor O’Brien (Manager of Building Services and Director of Security) at [email protected]

Until February 7th, the current Omicron surge forces us to revert to our previous policy prohibiting eating in GSD buildings, except in individual offices with the door closed.

As with all COVID-related planning, these policies are, of course, subject to change.

Student groups contemplating in-person events should read the “In-Person Events” section below on this page.

All GSD events must go through an approval process and must follow Harvard and GSD events policies, as discussed below. This includes all events affiliated with a GSD student group, regardless of the event location, including off-campus and virtual events.

It is very important to go through the process, and not assume a proposed event will be approved. In particular, don’t confirm things with speakers until your event has been approved!

All student events must be affiliated with an active student group. If you are not part of a group, you will need to find a group to co-sponsor your proposed event. If your group is not on that list of currently active groups, check in with [email protected] about how to re-activate your group for the current academic year. Groups must be registered as active to sponsor events.

Enter your student group event requests in Engage, our student groups and activities platform. As part of the approval process, Student Affairs staff may ask for more information, see if you can shift to another date, time, or location, etc.

Once an event has been fully approved and all information necessary for publicity is finalized, approved events are also shown in GSD Now, which aggregates all happenings at the GSD.

For any event:

      1. Talk to your group’s Events Liaison. Events liaisons are labeled on Engage rosters. Events Liaisons can submit event requests for your group within Engage.
      2. Determine a proposed date and time for your event, avoiding conflicts with other events (see more below). It’s good to have at least one backup date and time in mind.
      3. If your event proposal includes any high-profile speakers, any requests for funding beyond what your group is allocated by Student Forum, or any logistically complex aspects, contact [email protected] early in your planning process.
      4. Make your event request in Engage, answering all the question prompts as completely as possible.
      5. Do not confirm the event with your proposed speakers, or publicize the event, until you have received official confirmation that the event, your proposed timing, and your proposed format have been approved.
      6. If your proposed event has any in-person element, see the important guidelines below for in-person events, and note that they are potentially subject to change due to public health needs.
      7. Once your event is approved, it will be posted to GSD Now. At that point, if you need to change anything about the publicized information there, contact [email protected] directly to have the information corrected.


Important things to know:

  • Current GSD policy is that whenever possible no two events should take place at the same time. This helps lessen community fatigue as well as reduce conflicts between events. Student groups considering potential dates and times for events should check GSD Now and the GSD Public Events page for potential conflicts.
  • Conflicts with the GSD Public Lecture Series or significant dates on the Academic Calendar are not allowed. Events will not be approved if they conflict with a GSD public program.
  • Student group internal meetings (virtual or not) should go through the events approval process in Engage just like any event. Engage has options for scheduling a regularly recurring meeting. Internal meetings are allowed to conflict with each other and with other events. It is encouraged, however, not to have meetings conflict with GSD Public Events whenever possible.
  • Any event that will be publicized, whether to the internal GSD community or to audiences outside the GSD, requires compliance with the above planning steps, even if it is entirely virtual.
  • If the Events Committee believes that hosting a proposed speaker or holding a particular event would not be in alignment with the GSD’s community values, the committee reserves the right to deny or cancel the event.

In-person events:

For Spring 2022 there will still be some precautions and restrictions on in-person events. As noted above, until further notice, in-person attendance at public events, including reviews, is restricted to HUID holders only. Exceptions will be granted on a case-by-case basis, and anyone seeking an exception may contact Trevor O’Brien (Manager of Building Services and Director of Security) at [email protected]

Until February 7th, the GSD is reverting to the previous policy prohibiting eating in GSD buildings, except in individual offices with the door closed.

It is exceptionally important that groups planning in-person events understand the guidelines for gatherings to remain in compliance with University and GSD policies that protect our community in the ongoing pandemic. These policies affect any gathering that is affiliated with a GSD student group or takes place on the GSD or Harvard campus.

No external speakers, and no external guests, will be permitted on campus for Fall 2021 events. Any event with a non-Harvard speaker or non-Harvard attendees must be held virtually. It is possible to hold an in-person, Harvard community-only watch party for a virtual event. Student groups are generally responsible for managing their own technical needs in hosting events and watch parties.

Indoor Events

  • Indoor events must adhere to campus-wide public health policies, including mandatory indoor masking.
  • Indoor events must not exceed the official capacity of a space.
  • Indoor events may not include any food or beverages, as attendees must remain masked the entire time.
  • Please read through the GSD room usage policy for additional information.

Outdoor Events

  • Any event involving food and drink must be outside.
    • In case of bad weather, the event must be modified or canceled; it cannot be moved indoors.
    • If and only if arranged and approved in advance, indoor backup options may be possible if the food and drink portion of the event is eliminated.
  • All food and drink offered must be individually packaged.
    • Individual cans of drinks, individually wrapped burritos or sandwiches or cookies, energy bars, etc.
  • A student leader must be designated as the responsible party and administrative/security contact for the event.
    • This student takes responsibility for ensuring the event is not overcrowded, as well as any other relevant policies, such as around noise levels. The student takes responsibility for calling in security if needed to help assure compliance with policies.
    • That student’s cell phone number is provided in advance to security.
  • The event must be scheduled and approved through the standard student events process on Engage. Just because an event is taking place outdoors does not mean it does not need approval.
  • Event approval may be contingent on there being sufficient advance notice for administrators to hire extra security and/or custodial staff specifically for the event, depending on size and nature of the proposed event.


Important: Violation of any posted GSD or Harvard policies around in-person events and coronavirus safety precautions can lead to disciplinary action. Violations by student groups can lead to action impacting both group leadership and the group itself. Groups violating safety policies may lose all access to funding through Harvard, including Student Forum allocations, for the remainder of the academic year. This loss of funding can include denial of reimbursement requests for any expenses for the violating event.

Groups considering in-person activities should also make note of the GSD’s Student Events Alcohol Policy
and GSD Custodial Policy for Events. Keep in mind that adhering to these policies can sometimes add unforeseen costs to a planned event. Additional ways unforeseen costs can accrue to in-person events include potential needs for building or event security staffing, and rental of media equipment or hiring of media services technicians.

Timing tips:

Even though we are all back together in one time zone, there is no one time that will be great for all possible attendees. We can however offer some guidelines:

  • Many classes take place in the 8 am to 6 pm time block, and some may take place up through 7 pm. Times during the class day are discouraged for holding events, even virtual ones.
  • 6:00 PM start times or later are required for evening programs. Allowing a break between the end of the class day and the start of your evening event may help increase attendance. If your evening event is in person and indoors, consider whether attendees will be able to eat dinner between classes and the start of your event. They will not be able to eat during your indoor event.
  • Lunchtime events are allowed, but discouraged unless they can be held outside. Students will need to use mid-day breaks between classes to eat lunch away from GSD buildings.

If you have questions, please contact the Event Liaison of your group, [email protected], or Erica George, Coordinator of Student Activities and Outreach.

Faculty and staff, including TAs and researchers, please see the event planning instructions for faculty and staff.