RSO Event Planning Guide

As you prepare to host an event, consider these five steps of the event planning process and review the event planning terms and policies outlined below.

Step 1: The Idea

Questions to consider when brainstorming or planning your event:

  1. Where is there a need on campus?
  2. What type of event/program would help address this need?
  3. Who is my audience?
  4. What do I want my audience to learn from this event?
  5. Is there enough time to plan and implement this event?

Don’t forget that your RSO consultant is here to help you through this step. Your consultant can help you further develop and brainstorm your event idea and can ensure that your tentative date does not conflict with other major events on campus. If you are struggling in trying to find a suitable date, your consultant can help with a recommendation of a suitable date and timeline for your event. Your consultant can also provide guidance as you are getting in touch with an artist or agent for quotes and date availability.

Speaking of contracts, let’s go over the dos and don’ts of contracting.

Step 2: Confirmation & Proof of Costs

Questions to consider:

  1. Where can I host my event?
  2. How do I reserve space for my event?
  3. How much will it cost to put on this event?

“But how do I find and reserve a space on campus?”

Student Engagement supports student organization’s events on campus. They schedule spaces, manage event production, and much more! Once you complete the registration form based on the event you’re planning, you may need to meet with Student Engagement to discuss, technical needs, security, proof of costs for the space, and other event production needs.

If you need to book an academic space contact the office of Learning Environments and Media Productions. They handle equipment reservations for academic spaces.

They can be reached by phone at 315.443.5660.

If you are reserving a space in other University facilities other than student centers or academic space, you will need to contact the following:

  • Quad — Student Engagement
  • AG Gyms, Hendricks Field — Recreation Services
  • Women’s Building Gyms and Studios — Recreation Services
  • Bird Library — Library Administration
  • Goldstein Alumni and Faculty Center — Food Services
  • Hendricks Chapel — Hendricks Chapel Dean’s Office
  • Inn Complete — Inn Complete Manager
  • Manley Field House — Assistant Director of Athletics, Manley Field House

Remember, each facility has different requirements and costs

The next part of step 2 is Proof of Costs. You must have proof of costs for all expenses associated with your program in order to apply for funding. Typical costs include: artist fee/performer honorarium, venue/productions costs (Goldstein Auditorium quote from Student Engagement, special audio/technical equipment), travel/transportation costs (screenshot of flight total cost), hotel/lodging costs. Remember, when reaching out to artists or performers, you must ask for the all-inclusive fee.

There are a few things that SA does not require you to submit with proof of cost. These include Sheraton room reservations and the Schine Box Office ticket request form. YOU MUST HAVE PROOF OF COSTS FOR EVERYTHING ELSE.

Step 3: Funding

Questions to consider:

  1. What funding sources are available?
  2. How do I apply for funding?
  3. When are funding deadlines?
  4. Is there any money in my RSO’s account currently?

(accordian for bullet 4)

-SA Semester Budget Allocation Process

In order to qualify for SA semester funding, your budget must be submitted in the previous semester.

For example, if you would like to receive funding for an event in the fall, you must submit the budget during the previous spring semester, There is also a fiscal training which your RSO’s fiscal agent must attend. This training is held each semester by the SA’s comptroller. The training must be attended for your RSO to qualify for funding.

Dates and deadlines for the budget timeline and space allocation process are provided the first few weeks of the semester. The deadlines can be found on the ‘Cuse Activities calendar, OSA homepage, and on @cuseactivities social media accounts. THE DEADLINES MUST BE FOLLOWED. NO EXCEPTIONS.


RSO’s must go to Student Engagement and complete an online form to reserve a table for any fundraising event. It is recommended that you reserve your table well in advance as table reservations tend to fill up quickly. If you need help brainstorming fundraising ideas, talk with your consultant. The fundraising guidelines are also in the RSO Handbook.

Step 4: Logistics and Advancing/Implementation

Questions to consider:

  1. Before I can announce my event, what else needs to be done?
  2. Is there a contract involved?
  3. How do I handle travel, lodging, and ground transportation?
  4. Does the speaker/artist have any other special requests?
  5. Does the event need catering?
  6. When will tickets go on sale?
  7. How will the event be publicized?
  8. What is the day of the show schedule?

That is a lot to consider and remember when implementing and advancing your event but don’t fear. Your consultant is here to help you; talk with them. Forward your consultant previous communications with the performer or agent. Your consultant will then execute a formal offer including the contract and technical rider.

Speaking of catering, contact Schine Catering if the event is in the Schine Student Center. If your event is NOT in the Schine Student Center but is still on campus, contact Campus Catering. ALL catering requires 10 business days notice to complete requests. A final guest count is due to catering 3 business days prior to your event. Also, it is very important to know your budget and event details before connecting with the catering offices.

If you are ticketing your event, complete a ticket request form. This form requires signatures from your RSO consultant and your Student Engagement event production manager. You will also need a payment ID issued by your consultant. Your RSO consultant should be your last stop when completing the ticket request form.

When marketing your event, meet with your consultant to develop a meaningful marketing plan. You should also put your event on the ‘Cuse Activities events calendar.

RSO’s are also required to meet with Student Engagement at least 2 weeks prior to the event to finalize production details and to order services like public safety. Continuously meet with your consultant to iron out the final event logistics, create a day of show schedule, do event walk-through, confirm catering, and to delegate responsibilities to RSO membership.

Step 5: Debrief

Questions to consider:

  1. Was it a successful event? Why or why not?
  2. Were our learning outcomes met?
  3. Was the event well attended? Why or why not?
  4. What did we learn about planning events? About our Team? About working together?
  5. Did we make any money off of the event? What can we do with this money?
  6. What can we improve?

Helpful Terms and Policies

There are more than 250 registered student organizations (RSOs) at Syracuse University.  These organizations complete a registration process with the Student Engagement team and can play an integral role in the educational and student development process.

Student Engagement is a unit in the Student Experience division that is responsible for working with the 250+ RSOs.  The unit is comprised of four teams that provide support and guidance to student-run organizations:

  • Leadership: administers trainings and guidance to all RSOs on topics related to event planning, funding, and marketing.  Staff on this team serve as RSO Consultants and as primary touch points for student-run organizations.
  • Engagement: oversees Orange After Dark (OAD), weekly late-night programming for undergraduate students.  Engagement staff can help answer questions regarding late night program and collaboration opportunities for RSOs.
  • Operations: oversees 25Live room reservations and supports campus events hosted by RSOs and recognized fraternities and sororities.  Staff on this team can help answer reservations and student employment inquiries.
  • Event and Technical Services (ETS): provides technical support for events in the Schine and Goldstein Student Centers and Skybarn.  Staff members assist with lights, sound, and other technical needs for events.

SA is the undergraduate student government. SA has many responsibilities including granting funding to RSOs. The SA office is located in Schine Student Center, Ste. 230.

RSOs are divided into 13 different communities based on mission and purpose.

RSOs have the right to:

  • Apply for funding from SA.
  • Fundraise on campus for approved programs and activities.
  • Reserve space on campus.
  • Print 1200 color and black/white photocopies per year through SA.
  • Post marketing materials in approved areas throughout campus.
  • Apply and be nominated for awards and honors presented to RSOs, such as the 44 Stars of Excellence awards ceremony.
  • Be supported with program development, implementation, and assessment from Student Engagement.
  • Table at the Involvement Fair held each fall.
  • Use Syracuse University’s name in an approved manner.
  • Listing in some University publications.
  • Access to exclusive training and leadership opportunities.

RSOs are responsible for:

  • Knowing and connecting with their Student Engagement consultants.
  • Selecting a reliable and trustworthy full-time SU faculty/staff member to serve as an advisor.
  • Understanding the differences between a Student Engagement consultant and an advisor.
  • Completing the annual re-registration process.
  • Completing RSO officer training.
  • Maintaining an active and accurate presence on Cuse Activities.
  • Updating their formal constitution, advisor contract and membership roster through Cuse Activities.
  • Their fiscal agent completing SA Fiscal Agent Training each semester the RSO wishes to apply for funding from SA.
  • Becoming familiar with university policies and procedures that govern the RSO communities.
  • Serving as an ambassador for your individual organizations as well as the RSO community.

Consultants are staff members that work in Student Engagement. RSOs are assigned a consultant upon recognition by Student Engagement and are assigned to RSOs based on availability and interests.

Advisors are full-time faculty and/or staff members at SU. Advisors are selected each year during the RSO re-registration process. Advisors are usually invited by RSOs because of relationships with leadership and/or affinity for the organization's mission.

The student travel policy applies when traveling outside Onondaga County while representing your organization.

Examples Include:

  • Field Trips
  • Leadership/Academic Conferences
  • Community Service
  • Club Sport trips

Not sure if the policy applies?  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you traveling with or on behalf of an RSO?
  • Are you traveling outside of Onondaga County?
  • Did you receive funding from Student Association or the Co-Curricular Fee to finance the trip?
  • Do you expect to be reimbursed for expenses incurred on the trip from an RSO account?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then the travel policy applies. Speak with your RSO consultant.

So, what’s the policy?

Travel must be consistent with the RSO’s mission and constitution. You need to discuss and outline the trip with your RSO consultant BEFORE booking or arranging travel. The trip must be chaperoned by a member of the SU faculty or staff except with approval from an appropriate administrator. In most cases your RSO consultant would be appropriate. DON’T FORGET THE PAPERWORK! The student coordinating the trip must complete and submit the “Off-Campus Student Travel Itinerary” form online through ‘Cuse Activities AND ensure every student traveling submits an “Off Campus Student Travel Waiver” through ‘Cuse Activities at least 48 hours before departure.

Any products that you want to order that make use of University marks, logos or slogans must be approved by the University’s Office of Trademark Licensing BEFORE they can be ordered. The university’s Office of Trademark Licensing can be reached at 315.443.2838.

Only general-purpose bulletin boards in each building may be used. Posters may not exceed 11” x 17” and you are limited to one poster/flyer per bulletin board. DO NOT use any glue or tape and do not post on windows, doors, or interior/exterior walls.

Every poster must contain the following:

  • Name of RSO
  • Date, time and location of your event
  • Contact info and ticket info (if ticketing the event)
  • The accommodations clause (this must be word for word) – “FOR ANY QUESTIONS, OR TO REQUEST ACCOMMODATIONS, PLEASE CONTACT [name/email] BY [date]” (DEADLINE SHOULD BE 5-7 BUSINESS DAYS BEFORE THE EVENTS)”
  • The phrase – ” Your Student Fee”

Below is an example of a poster that meets all of the conditions for approval.

Do you want to post in a residence hall? The rules are a little bit different. Only RSO’s can post flyers/posters in the residence halls. All flyers/posters must contain the same information for approval and your RSO consultant must approve the flyer/poster. You may take the flyers/posters to the Office of Residence Life (200 Waverly) at least 10 business days before the event. You can check out the entire policy online. There are only a certain amount of flyers /posters that can be approved for each hall. You must take the flyers/posters to the Office of Residence Life sorted with the appropriate numbers of flyers/posters for each hall.

Here is a list of residence halls and the numbers of flyers that can be approved in each:

  • Boland – 9
  • Booth – 8
  • Brewster/Brockway – 12
  • Central Office – 1
  • Day – 9
  • Dellplain – 9
  • Ernie Davis – 8
  • Flint – 9
  • Haven/Walnut/Washington Arms – 19
  • Kimmel/Marion – 6
  • Lawrinson – 18
  • Sadler – 10
  • Shaw/Lyons – 10
  • South Campus/Sky Halls – 10
  • Watson/Sheraton – 14

Check out the RSO Handbook for policies that govern RSOs. RSO members and leadership are responsible for knowing the other policies, too.