Programming is a key element of any successful organization.  Whether you are programming only for your members, or for a broader range of people, successful programs all require some degree of careful planning.  Feel free to consult with Campus Activities and Operations Staff or Program Board members at any step of the way; both are great resources, and are eager to support you.

Event Planning

Picking a Date and Time
  • Utilize the College Events Calendar located at Pick a date when there are fewer events and when your event will complement not overshadow or be overshadowed by other events.
  • Utilize the Student Involvement Calendar that can be accessed on Google Calendar
    • Go to your Macalester Google Calendar
    • Type “Student Involvement” into the “Add a coworker’s calendar” search box
    • Add your event to the College Events Calendar so that other organizations are able to plan with your event in mind as well.

Picking a Location

Considerations when picking a location

Bon Appétit: Bon Appétit MUST cater all events involving food in the Campus Center, Hill Ballroom (Kagin), and the Leonard Center. Do not choose these spaces if you would like to use outside catering

Checking Space Availability

Use the Macalester venue reservation system online at  or Contact the Reservation Desk at 651-696-6638 or to find out about availability

Reserving Space on Campus

All spaces on campus must be reserved for large events in order to ensure the spaces are available for usage.

  • Room Reservations should be made at least 3 weeks in advance, the earlier your reserve, the more likely the space is to be available.
  • Reservation Desk: Most venues on campus are reserved at the Reservation Desk in order to reserve a space
    • Contact the Reservation Desk at 651.696.6638 or in order to make a reservation
    • Leonard Center: All spaces in the Leonard Center should be reserved through Deanna Brabant at or 651.696.6260
    • Alumni House: To reserve spaces in the Alumni house contact Mary K. Briggs at or 651.696.6728
    • College Events Description (CED) Form: A CED form must be completed, including a signature from a Campus Activities and Operations staff member, and turned into Reservations 14 days before the event. The CED form can be downloaded here or picked up at the Reservation desk

Security, Custodial, Emergency Medical, and Media Services Needs

Some events (especially those that are larger and/or publicized to the entire campus) require Custodians, Security, and/or Media Services.  These services may come with additional costs.


Some events require Custodians, Security, and/or Media Services. These services may come with additional costs.

In order to contact Security for administrative needs call 651-696-6278, the 24/7 emergency security number is 651-696-6555. Security Officers must be requested for student organization events in any of the following circumstances:

  • If alcohol will be present (see page 17)
  • If the anticipated audience is greater than 100 people
  • Concerts without seating
  • Dances
  • If there will be VIPs in attendance/keynoting
  • If the event is advertised outside of the campus community
  • If there is an increased level of risk due to the nature or topic of event
  • If the event is a fundraiser or if significant amounts of cash are being collected at the door 

The number of officers and costs for security will be determined by the Security office. There is a 4 hour minimum for security officers. Therefore organizations must pay officers for a minimum of 4 hours regardless of the length of their event.

Purpose of Security at Student Organization Events

  • Crowd control
  • Monitor the consumption of alcohol if permitted at the event
  • To assist in the event of emergency
  • To support hosts of events in monitoring their crowds
  • To protect the safety of the community

Responsibility of the Host Organization

It is the responsibility of the host organization to secure the appropriate security in advance of the event. Security request forms are due 14 calendar days to the event.. Events will not be allowed to take place if security is needed but not secured. Organization leaders are responsible for confirming that Security will be present, and for finalizing any arrangements at least 5 days prior to the event. Events where such provisions are not finalized 5 days prior to the event may be cancelled.

Custodial Services

Based on details for your event, Custodial Services will anticipate and prepare accordingly. Please inform Macalester Reservations of any special requests or arrangements that may be out of the ordinary. If you need to contact Custodial Services call (651)-696-6278.

Media Services

Media services may be needed for events that require equipment or assistance with media components beyond what Campus Activities and Operations provides.

You may contact Media Services at or (651)-696-6377, it is also advisable to speak with the Campus Activities and Operations staff regarding these needs.

When requested or as needed, the Campus Center will schedule student technical staff to provide on-site audio/visual support for events taking place in the Campus Center, Hill Ballroom, and Weyerhaeuser Boardroom & Lounge at no charge. To ensure adequate staffing, requests for technical support staffing must be made at least 14 calendar days prior to event date through the Reservations Desk. For specific questions concerning A/V capabilities for the Campus Center, Hill Ballroom, Weyerhaeuser Boardroom & Lounge, and Smail Gallery, please contact the Campus Center Operations Manager at 651-696-6004.

For on-site A/V support for events taking place in other spaces, please contact the Media Services Department at 651-696-6377 or

Macalester College Emergency Medical Service (MCEMS)

MCEMS can be requested to be at any event you hold.

  • MCEMS will provide EMTs and First Responders to campus events to service as First Response teams. Consider using them for any events with heightened injury or health risk or at large events.
  • Request them to work at your event at least 2 weeks in advance by contacting MCEMS at

Food and Beverages

Bon Appétit

  • Bon Appétit may be used for catering services anywhere on campus.
  • Bon Appétit must be used in the following venues
    • Campus Center
    • Hill Ballroom (Kagin)
    • The Leonard Center
      • Information regarding Bon Appétit catering (such as available food and prices) can be found at
      • The Catering Department must be contacted AT LEAST 1 week in advance of the event.
      • Contact the Catering Department at Macalester at 651.696.6313 to request catering or with any questions.

Dishware and Silverware

  • Compost and Compostable Dishware
    • Macalester College Student Government (MCSG) sponsors a compostable dishware ordering program to provide faculty, staff, academic departments, and student organizations with an economical and sustainable option for disposable dishware.
    • MCSG has made compostable dishware free to all student organizations.
    • This Google form is where you can place an order for a variety of dishware items.
      • Please write “student org” in the box in the form that asks for a FOAPAL.
      • Student orgs orders will be reviewed by MCSG’s Sustainability Officer.
      • Macalester Mailing Services will process your order once it is approved. When it’s ready to be picked up, Mailing Services will notify organizations by email.
  • In some cases when using compostable disposable dishware, you will need to contact facilities to receive additional compost receptacles.
    • They can be contacted at or 651.696.6278
    • Melamine (non-paper) Dishes
      • If you plan to use non-disposable dishware, MCSG can provide you with dishes
      • Contact the Sustainability office about reserving the dishes at 651.696.8138 or
      • Café Mac will wash the dishes between the hours of 9:00am and 7:30pm
        • Deliver dishes to Café Mac
          • Clean off all food
          • In a container or box with a list of its contents
          • Check in with the Manager on Duty regarding their washing

Alcoholic Beverages

If you plan to serve alcohol at your event, you MUST meet with a member of the Campus Activities and Operations Staff. Only some events will be approved with alcohol and all school policies must be adhered by.

The school policies on events with alcohol can be found here.

Event Budget

Expenditures for events that were not planned for in the yearly budget can often be funded by additional allocations.

Possible Event Expenditures

  • Event preparation:
    • Promotion/publicity
    • Decorations
    • Event printing (e.g. tickets, etc.)
    • Facilities fees
    • Event needs:
      • Security, custodial, media, and medical services
      • Food and beverage
      • Speaker/Performer fees: Honorarium, additional contract fees (e.g. travel, hotel, etc.), and artist hospitality
        • In order to pay any individual or group for services to your organization, a contract must be generated and signed with assistance from Campus Activities and Operations staff.

Managing Expenditures

All expenditures made with MCSG funds should be tracked with the Checkbook feature of Orgsync. Those directions can be found here.

Performer/Speaker/Venders Contracts

If your student organization is bringing someone to campus as a speaker, performer, entertainer, consultant, instructor, etc., and you are planning to compensate them in ANY way, shape, or form, you MUST have a contract. Student organizations and/or their representatives may not sign or enter into a contract with a performer, speaker, etc. All contracts must be processed and signed by the Director of Campus Activities. Contracts are important to ensure that there is a clear agreement between Macalester College and the contractor.

Contracts serve the following purposes:

  • Provide legal documentation required to pay someone for their service
  • States the agreement regarding compensation of the contractor and how additional expenses such as travel will be handled
  • States the agreement regarding the expectations of the speaker and expectations of Macalester and your student organization
  • Determines responsibility for each party in the event of a cancellation or change in the contract

Types of Contracts

  • Exterior Standard Contract
    • This is when an agency or performer has his or her own standard contract and rider. While Macalester prefer to use our own engagement contract, we are able to work with the standard contract if it is preferred by the agency or performer.
  • Macalester Standard Engagement Contract
    • This is a contract that is generated by Macalester with all of the conditions agreed upon by both parties
  • Riders
    • A rider is an additional set of demands/requests that must be met in order to fulfill the terms of the contract.
    • There are two primary types of rider:
      • Hospitality:  A hospitality rider commonly includes requests to ensure the comfort of the speaker/performer on the day of the engagement.  This may include information about transportation from an airport, hotel needs, snacks and beverages, and the like.
      • Technical:  A technical rider addresses equipment and/or crew needs, and might include such things are requests for particular lighting, microphones or other sound or AV equipment, for example.

Process for Creating a Contract

  1. Student Orgs who wish to contract with an outside vendor, speaker, etc. must complete the Contract Request Form available on OrgSync.
    • The form must be completed at least two weeks in advance of the event
  2. Once the request form is received by the Director of Campus Activities, they will complete and send Macalester’s standard engagement contract to the person/organizations being contracted.
    • If the performer has their own contract they wish for Macalester to sign, please forward the document to the Director of Campus Activities and Operations
    • Once the performer has signed and returned the required paperwork, their payment will be processed.
    • Please note we can not request payment until we have received all the required documents.  
    • Contracts must be received at least two weeks prior to the event date in order to guarantee payment by the day of the event.  
  3. Macalester does not authorize deposits or pre-payments for any vendors or performances. As long as all proper paperwork has been received, at least two weeks prior to the event, payment will be ready on the day of the event. If paperwork is not received, at least two weeks in advance, the payment will be mailed to the address provided at the time of contracting.

W-9 Forms

The performer or speaker must provide a copy of their W-9 form to Macalester. Turn this W-9 into the Director of Campus Activities as well. A blank W-9 can be found at

Special Considerations

  • International Performers
    • International performers are required to complete additional paperwork and withholding of taxes. Campus Activities and Operations can help to ensure these steps are taken. If you are submitting a contract form for an international performer, please do so at least three weeks in advance of the event.
  • Macalester Faculty or Staff
    • If Faculty or Staff are being paid for their performance they will not use a typical contract. You must contact the Director of Campus Activities and Operations at least three weeks in advance in order to ensure the proper contract is used.
  • Minnesota Entertainer Tax
    • Compensation that nonresident entertainers receive for performances in Minnesota is subject to a 2% nonresident entertainer tax. Macalester College is responsible for withholding the 2% tax from the nonresident entertainer payments, remitting the withholding amounts and reporting to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.

Remember: Contracts may include confidential information, so do not share contract details with anyone not involved in the event.

Special Events Types

Community Service Events

The Civic Engagement Center (CEC) acts as a bridge between the Macalester community and Twin Cities’ non-profit organizations and schools.  Call the CEC at 651.696.6040 if your organization is looking for:

  1. A one-time service project that is integrally connected to the group’s focus;
  2. A one-time service project unrelated to the central mission of the organization — for the purpose of getting to know one another better and benefiting others, and/or
  3. An ongoing project that coincides with the group’s mission and enhances members’ experiences.


When planning a dance student orgs MUST meet with a member of Campus Activities and Operations prior to any planning of events. Organizations that sponsor dance events are responsible for the management and monitoring of the event.  Hosts also help ensure that attendees adhere to the dance guidelines as well as all other Macalester policies.  When hosting a dance event, an organization must adhere to the following expectations:

Pre-Dance Expectations

  • Meet with CAO to discuss host protocol at least 14 days prior to the event.
  • Confirm reservation details and set up notes with Reservations Desk at least 14 days prior to event.
  • Select a DJ for the event
    • If you are using DJ Club, you must contact them via email at least 14 days prior to your event.
    • Request that they consider playlists that have content that is appropriate for and inclusive of the Macalester student body.
  • Identify  4 representative hosts who will be responsible for managing and monitoring the event. Hosts will:
    • Stay in the venue
    • Remain sober throughout the event
    • Assist in the care and intervention of guest behavior
  • Arrive at the venue 30 minutes prior to the event start time for an Event Team Meeting. The Event Team Meeting will include:
    • All hosts
    • Security
    • Building Manager/Event Managers
    • Macalester staff member on duty.  


  • Assist with load in of equipment (as needed)
  • Complete any additional set up at least 30 minutes prior to publicized dance start time

Expectations During Dance

  • Welcome guests
  • Ensure guests follow the dance guidelines and remind guests of guidelines (if needed) throughout the event
  • Control access to the stage and keep unauthorized people off at all times
  • Monitor dance and venue. (Check restrooms every 15 min, report issues, assist guests, etc.)

End of Event Expectations

  • Stay onsite until all guests have left
  • Take down decorations
  • Clean up space
  • Check restrooms for people and for cleanliness
  • Assist with load out of equipment (as necessary)
  • Take down water stations and clean out water coolers
  • Assist Security in clearing building

AV needs

  • Most AV needs can be addressed when making your reservation. Contact the Reservation Desk if you need additional assistance at
    • If you have additional AV needs you must request them directly from Media Services via the request forms found here
    • There may be an additional fee if the event requires Media Services staff to work outside of their work hours (M-F 8:30am-4:30pm)
  • Music
    • Choose the type of music you plan to have
      • Live
      • DJ
        • In order to use a DJ through Macalester please contact a Campus Activities and Operations staff member
  • Lighting
  • Media
    • Determine the equipment you may need:
      • Projectors and screens
      • DVD players
      • Microphones
      • Etc.
      • Ensure you know how to use equipment in advance of the event

Note: Fog machines are not permitted.

Movie/Video Screening

Macalester College has determined that in order to comply with the Copyright Act, public or semi-public showing of films or DVDs, except those secured from and with permission of the copyright owner, are not allowed on campus. It is likely that your film event falls into the category requiring you to obtain public performance rights.

  • Obtaining Rights:
  • Fees for obtaining rights to a movie can be very expensive ranging from $100-$1000.
  • Personally owned copies of a movie or TV show may not be shown in a publicized screening in any public venue.
  • This means you cannot order a Netflix movie, etc and show it to the public!
  • Consequences of not obtaining rights:
    • Criminal penalty for willful violation of the Copyright Act is up to one year in jail and/or a $25,000 fine. Inadvertent or innocent violations may bring substantial civil penalties.

Outdoor Events & Noise Policy/Variance

Planning an Outdoor event

  • Reserving Outdoor space
    • Outdoor space can be reserved through the reservations desk.
    • Facilities Services’ Grounds Crew will be notified of the event
      • Contact at or 651.696.6278 in order to ensure that all the needs of your event are met
      • Create a Rain Plan
        • Reserve an indoor space that will meet the event needs
        • Determine who and when a decision will be made about whether the event will be inside or outside

Noise Policy and Considerations

  • Noise Restrictions
    • There cannot be any amplified music after 8:00pm without a noise variance from the City of St. Paul:
    • There cannot be any amplified music when classes are being held
    • Obtaining a noise variance
      • You must meet with a Campus Activities and Operations Staff Member regarding the appropriate time and space for your event as well as to discuss the need and process for getting a sound variance from the City of St. Paul
      • Applications for a sound variance must be received at least 30 days in advance
      • Fill out and submit a sound variance form to the City of St. Paul
  • Submit required $164 fee
  • More information about the City of St. Paul’s noise variance permits can be found at
  • Guidelines
    • Contact the neighbors about the event
  • Be aware of the placement of the amplified music in relation to classrooms, offices, and residence halls

Item Collection Boxes

Student Organizations may arrange to have items (i.e. books, school supplies, winter accessories) collected at the Campus Center Information Desk by filling out the Campus Center Drop Box Info Sheet.  The Campus Activities and Operations staff requires that the student organization/department monitor the box daily and remove items as necessary so the box does not overflow, become unsightly, and/or obstruct one’s movement through the Campus Center.