Conference and Event Services
Use of University Facilities
The Princeton University publication, Rights, Rules, Responsibilities provides guidelines for use of University Resources including the use of University facilities.
Use of Outdoor Spaces
Princeton University’s outdoor spaces are one of the University’s most valuable and in some cases most fragile resources. Princeton’s grounds are an integral part of the architectural beauty of the University; they complement and enhance buildings; they are a resource meant to be enjoyed by members of the University and, in most cases, the general public. Painstaking and ongoing care and proper use are necessary to keep our grounds in good condition.
Requests for the use of Princeton University’s outdoor spaces are reviewed based on several factors including but not limited to:
- Time of year (whether classes are in session; whether other large University sponsored events are scheduled like Reunions or Commencement events)
- Weather and impact on the grounds, and the existing condition of the grounds
- Safety and security
- Benefit to University community
- Interference with other campus business or ability to navigate around campus
- Set-up required
Please provide us with as much information about your event as possible when requesting space.
Listed below are examples of selected outdoor spaces that may be available for activities sponsored by University academic or administrative departments or registered student organizations with Office of Undergraduate/Graduate Student event approval. To inquire about reserving outdoor space please contact Conference and Events Services at 609-258-6115. External organizations/individuals are not permitted to rent outdoor space.
The following spaces are the most commonly reserved areas:
- Alexander Beach-Popular for picnics and large outdoor gatherings. Past events include Princeton Preview check in, the SheRoars opening dinner and a number of residential college activities.
- The University Store Courtyard-Popular for picnics and large outdoor gatherings. Past events include fairs and picnics hosted by student organizations.
- Dod Courtyard-Popular for student organization BBQs and events. Past events have included class sponsored events.
- 1879 Lawn-Popular for student organization outreach displays and fairs. Past events have included the TASA Asian Night Market and Student Global AIDS Campaign display.
- McCosh Courtyard-Popular for smaller gatherings. Past events have included departmental picnics.
- Murray-Dodge Lawn-Popular for small picnics and outdoor movies. Past events have included departmental picnics and student organizations showing films on the side of Whig Hall.
- 1879 and Blair Arches- Popular with a cappella groups.
Note that front campus (the lawn in front of Nassau Hall), Cannon Green, and Prospect House lawn and garden are reserved for University ceremonial events, most held annually, such as the fall Pre-rade, Communiversity, Commencement, Class Day and are not normally available for any other purpose.
Conference and Events Services suggests you take the following into account when planning your outdoor event:
- Amplified sound is not permitted before 5 p.m. during the academic day. During the academic year amplified sound may be further restricted in areas near academic buildings. For example, outdoor space requests with amplified sound may be denied depending on evening programs and lectures, particularly in the areas surrounding McCosh Hall and Richardson Auditorium. Events likely to generate substantial crowd noise may also be restricted.
- All furniture must be removed after the event. Furniture cannot be removed from buildings for outdoor use.
- Camping in vehicles, tents or other structures is not permitted on campus. Sleeping in outdoor space of any kind is prohibited.
- All grills must be placed on flat land with no tree cover. All coals must be disposed of properly and not dumped on the lawn
- For a propane grill a municipal permit is required.
- For a charcoal grill permission is required from Princeton University Fire Marshall
- Open burning (e.g. camp fires, fire pits) is not permitted unless approved by Princeton University Fire Marshall.
- Pathways and entryways to buildings must be kept clear and accessible.
While Conference and Events Services reserves outdoor space, additional departments provide support services for certain types of events.
- Some events, such as large scale events or events with alcohol, will require security presence. Please contact Duncan Harrison (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange for Public Safety to be on site. There is a charge for this service.
- All structures, including tents, must be arranged through Grounds and Building Maintenance. Please contact Charlie Krank (email@example.com) to arrange tent rental. Tents are not allowed near residential buildings with the exception of Reunions. For detailed information see Facilities Event Support.
- In an effort to protect underground cables and tree roots it is mandatory that the Grounds and Building Maintenance department perform a mark out prior to anything being driven into the ground.
- Student groups wishing to hang banners on McCosh Walk must follow a particular procedure. (See Facilities Event Support) To post large signs on 1879 Lawn you must contact Al Pearson (firstname.lastname@example.org) to arrange set up.
Please make sure you leave the grounds in the state that you found them. (See Facilities Event Support) Additional garbage and recycling bins may be rented from Building Services. Charges will be assessed to departments and groups who leave the grounds in disrepair after their event.
The Conference and Event Services office will gladly answer any additional questions you may have about outdoor space. Please contact us directly.
We have taken seriously the safety of students, staff and visitors to campus when forming these regulations. Events that do not follow these regulations will be shut down and future requests will be put in jeopardy.
Eligibility Criteria for Groups and Individuals
To be eligible to hold an event on the Princeton campus, groups or individuals must meet the criteria specified:
- Academic and Administrative Departments or Programs
Departments or Programs may sponsor organizations that are related to their area of study or job function, as long as the organization also fits within the guidelines contained in the Princeton University publication, Rights, Rules, Responsibilities. Sponsorship generally indicates that members from the sponsoring department or program will attend and/or assist in the planning process, and that the event or conference will be of a benefit to the academic interests or job function of the sponsoring department or program. An e-mail from the chair of the department or program director must be sent to a Conference and Event Services representative to authorize the sponsorship of the event.
- Recognized Undergraduate Student Organizations
Members of an undergraduate student organization formally recognized by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students (ODUS) are eligible to host an event on campus. The event must be registered with ODUS using their guidelines. Your signed registration form will provide the documentation necessary to request services and reserve space for your event.
- Recognized Graduate Student Organizations
Graduate Student Organizations recognized by the Office of the Graduate School may host an event on campus. The group must complete a registration form and receive approval at least three weeks prior to the event. The registration form can be completed and submitted online.
- Alumni, Faculty and Staff (Private Party)
Individuals who are Princeton University alumni, faculty or staff may hold an event such as a wedding reception or other private party on campus. All private parties are held at either Prospect House or Palmer House. (Official alumni events are arranged through the Alumni Council.) Alumni, Faculty and staff may arrange an event at either Prospect House or Palmer House by contacting the Prospect or Palmer House catering manager directly.
- Non-University Affiliated Not-For-Profit Groups
When deemed appropriate, not-for-profit groups granted exemption from federal income tax under Section 501 (c)(3) of the federal tax code are eligible to host educational programs on campus. Not-for-profit organizations must request permission and receive approval by sending a formal proposal to Tara Zarillo, Associate Director, Conference and Event Services, e-mail address email@example.com. Not-for-profit groups must provide a copy of their 501 (c)(3) form to verify their tax exempt status. Princeton University Publication Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities provides further criteria.
When alcohol is served at a conference or event, Princeton policy and applicable NJ State laws, regulations, and rules for the sale, service, and consumption of alcohol must be followed. Alcohol should not be served at events with student attendees without first contacting the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students.
A social affair permit from the State of New Jersey may be required in some cases when alcohol is served. A minimum of two weeks is required to secure a social affair permit and a fee of $100.00 is applied by the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Alcohol Beverage Control. A public safety officer may be required at the expense of the hosting department or organization based on the nature of the event or the space in which the event will be held.
Contact Eric Hamblin (609) 258- 3371 or Michelle Horgan (609) 258- 6116 in Conference and Event Services with questions regarding the consumption of alcoholic beverages during events or conferences.
Occasionally an author lecturing or presenting at a conference or event may request permission to sell copies of their book. Guidelines for such sales are as follows:
- Labyrinth Books is the contracted vendor for book sales on the Princeton University campus.
- Labyrinth Books may set up a table outside an event to sell copies of an author's book.
- Princeton employees may not be involved in such sales.
- Authors may not sell their publications directly.
- When in doubt contact Conference and Event Services directly before giving any vendor permission to sell at a campus event.
The Borough of Princeton regulates noise and is the issuer of noise permits for outdoor events.
Amplified sound is not permitted before 5 p.m. during the academic day. During the academic year amplified sound may be further restricted in areas near academic buildings. For example, outdoor space requests with amplified sound may be denied depending on evening programs and lectures, particularly in the areas surrounding McCosh Hall and Richardson Auditorium. Events likely to generate substantial crowd noise may also be restricted.
The University requires outside parties who will be performing work or providing services to the University, or those using University facilities to provide evidence of certain types of insurance coverage at specified minimum limits. The Office of Finance and Treasury provides details regarding University insurance requirements.
Approved Providers for Catering and Event Services
The Princeton University Office of Finance and Treasury maintains a list of approved providers for catering and event services on campus.
Conference and Event Services (CES) provides consultative services at no cost. We may be able to provide staffing at larger and more complex conference or events at no cost based on availability of a staff member. Each department or program is responsible for any and all direct expenses (direct expenses are defined as the actual cost charged by a vendor or service provider, whether it is internal or external) relating to their conference or event. Charges are run through a CES project grant number and the department or program will be billed via internal invoice after the end of the event, and when all related expenses have hit our project grant number. Conference or event funds should be held in a departmental or program project grant. CES does not set up project grants for conference or event contributions for departments or programs.