Event Services

Policies & Procedures for Events on Campus

Pursuant to Southern Methodist University Policy 6.4 - Use of University Facilities by University and Non-University Individuals and Organizations, the University adopts the following Procedures for Events on Campus.

Educational Purpose / Mission of the University:

The Facilities of Southern Methodist University (the “University”) are private property and are to be used to carry out the mission of the University, creating, expanding, and imparting knowledge through teaching, research, and service.  Use of University Facilities will be permitted when consistent with the University’s mission and with the University’s status as a tax-exempt, non-profit educational institution.  Facilities use must conform to all applicable laws and regulations.  The University reserves the right to deny use of its Facilities to any individual or organization.


Any event or other activity of University and non-University individuals and organizations scheduled in a Venue.   Events include but are not limited to meetings, conferences, study groups, rehearsals, practices, receptions, catered meals, screenings, ceremonies, performances, athletic games, and lectures. Events are further categorized by SMU’s Public Safety Standards.  Credit and non-credit academic classes are not “Events”. 

Any person who is the main contact for Venue operations for a school, department or division.

Any person who schedules, plans, facilitates or organizes an Event.

Any Event planned and executed by a non-University for-profit or non-profit entity or individual.

The land, buildings, and other facilities of Southern Methodist University.

An agreement for the use of a Venue.

An Event planned and executed by an academic or business unit division/department, faculty/staff group, University administration or chartered student organization.

Any area that can be reserved for an Event. This includes but is not limited to classrooms, conference rooms, study rooms, seminar rooms, training rooms, labs, lobbies, atriums, porticos, lounges, auditoriums, theaters, lecture halls, courtyards, plazas, and outdoor spaces including the Historic Main Quadrangle.

Any building or Space within the University’s Facilities.

Policies and Guidelines

Event Leads are responsible for ensuring that Events are held in accordance with University alcohol policies and procedures:

Audio-visual equipment required in addition to equipment permanently located in a Venue must be obtained through the Office of Audio Visual Services via the AV Support Request Form.

Events funded by SMU financial orgs must use caterers that have been pre-approved by Purchasing.
Approved caterers can be found on the Purchasing website.

SMU Catering is the exclusive caterer for Events in Moody Coliseum, Miller Event Center, McFarlin Memorial Auditorium and the Martha Proctor Mack Grand Ballroom.  No other catering companies are allowed in those Facilities.


A contract and certificate of liability insurance (COI) are required for the following Events:

  • Events held by organizations or individuals who are neither funded nor controlled by the University;
  • Events which are not part of the course of regular University business;
  • Events where the primary benefit is for an unaffiliated organization or individual and the secondary benefit is for the University.  Other Events identified by the Office of Risk Management

The Event Lead will schedule the Event and provide the Event Planner with a University Facility Use Agreement via DocuSign that includes confirmation of the spaces to be used, dates/times of use, scheduled resources such as equipment or personnel, all fees associated with space and resources and other unique Venue policies or procedures.  Each Venue will use the same standard Facility Use Agreement approved by the Vice President for Business and Finance and Vice President for Legal Affairs and Government Relations, General Counsel and Secretary. Event Leads may customize the Facility Use Agreement appendices for their Venue in accordance with their own policies and procedures with approval from the Senior Contracts Administrator and the Office of Legal Affairs.

All Event Planners and Event Leads must have an emergency response awareness plan in the event of natural hazard, or other emergency resulting in bodily injury or property damage.  See Office of Risk Management's Know What to Do page.  VIP and complex Events may require an Emergency Operations Plan.  Inquiries require a minimum advance of one month and may be made to the SMU Police Department or the Office of Risk Management (ORM)/Emergency Management.

A Venue fee will not be charged for any Event if the attendees are exclusively SMU students, faculty or staff. Any hard costs associated with an Event such as: labor, set-up, technical rentals, etc. will be charged for the Event. 

A Venue fee may be charged for any Event where the majority of attendees are from off-campus or if tickets are being sold. The fee charged is determined by the management of the Facility in which the Event is being held. All hard costs associated with an Event such as: labor, set-up, technical rentals, etc. will be charged for these Events.

It is at the discretion of the management of the Venue to determine which category an Event falls under and to grant any exceptions to the procedures above.  The Venue’s school, department or division will not subsidize the cost of the Event. A cancellation fee may apply as determined by the management of the Venue.

Fees related to any Event that require the assistance of the Office of Facilities Planning and Management with regard to the areas of custodial and housekeeping support, maintenance technician support, general services support or any set-up required beyond the Venue staff, will be determined by the Event Support Assistant Director. The Event Support Assistant Director must be contacted to arrange for these services.  Refer to Office of Facilities Planning and Management site for additional information.

Food Trucks must be selected from the list of approved vendors.

All approved food trucks must obtain and maintain an up to date City of University Park Health Permit.  An Outdoor Event Request Form must be completed and approved anytime a food truck is utilized.

All regulatory safety requirements must be met.  For information regarding Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) to include occupational safety and health and safety, see the website for the Office of Risk Management.  Fleet and Sub-Compact Utility Vehicle (SCUV) safety requirements are also on this website.

University Facilities include several outdoor areas which are, in a general sense, "open to the public."  University Facilities are private property and outdoor spaces are not available for rent. Outdoor Events on the SMU campus are reserved through the Outdoor Events Request Form and may only be reserved by recognized organizations of SMU faculty, staff, and students. All outdoor Events must reserve space through this process.

Events held on the University Facilities must adhere to University policy in times of inclement weather. When the University closes, all Events are cancelled. Please see University Policy 13.6, Inclement Weather, for additional details.

Events held on University Facilities are expected to comply with all policies and procedures established by the Office of Parking and ID Card Services.

All SMU Public Affairs digital assets belong to the University. Permission is granted for use by the University employees and students only and is not transferable for further use – print or electronic – without the approval of the University’s Office of Public Affairs. Assets may not be given or sold to other parties without the permission of the University’s Office of Public Affairs, in consultation with the Office of Legal Affairs. Outside production companies, photographers, filmmakers, and others interested in using the SMU campus for filming or photography must contact SMU Photography Services to make a request.

Events allowing photographing, audiorecording or videorecording of Facilities require evidence of insurance and a campus photography location agreement (See University Policy 13.3--Policy on Film and Other Commercial Photography On Campus)

All SMU logos are owned by the University, and available for license exclusively through the University’s Office of Public Affairs. Logos must not be produced independently. The SMU logo may not be used with any product, Event or organization not sponsored or sanctioned by the University. Use of the logo for Events or initiatives co-sponsored by the University and outside organizations requires the permission of the University’s Office of Public Affairs. Please refer to SMU Brand Guidelines for questions pertaining to the use of logo, school colors, and trademark.

Any employee, camp operator or other person working for a program that offers recreational, athletic, religious, or educational activities for those not enrolled at SMU and that is operated by or on the SMU campus must successfully complete an approved training and examination program on sexual abuse and child molestation. Texas Education Code, Section 51.976, outlines those legally required to complete the training. More information can be found on the SMU Program for the Protection of Minors site.

All Events are required to follow the Public Safety Standards as adopted by the Police Department. The Event Lead will coordinate compliance.

The Board of Trustees or the President or Vice Presidents establish contract signature authority for Event Leads and their supervisors. The Vice President for Legal Affairs, in consultation with the Senior Contracts Administrator and the appropriate Dean and Vice President, will provide information about the extent of each Event Lead’s authority. This will allow the Event Lead and Dean or Vice President to execute Facility Use Agreements on behalf of the University, using the standard form approved by the Office of Legal Affairs. Any agreement not in standard form must be approved by the Office of Legal Affairs.

Smoking is prohibited in all University buildings and in other campus locations where a no smoking sign is posted.

Event Leads are required to use the approved University Event scheduling software for all Events. All Events must appear in the software and be linked via the calendaring component. Every Venue’s schedule of all Event spaces are required to be viewable to the Office of Risk Management, SMU Police Department and the Office of Facilities Planning and Management even if the management of the Venue chooses not to have an Event space schedule viewable to the general University community.

Any Event held on campus by a non-campus entity (any group that is not a chartered student organization, division/department, faculty/staff group or University administration) must be sponsored by an appropriate University entity. Sponsorship must be obtained in writing and provided to the appropriate Event Lead. Sponsorship by a chartered student organization will require a signature from the organization’s faculty/staff advisor. Any Event sponsored by a faculty member or department/division that will include off campus attendees greater than or equal to 25% of total attendees must have signed sponsorship by the appropriate dean or his/her designee.

Any vendors used must be approved by Purchasing.

Each Venue may have additional building specific procedures.