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Planning Your Event

chairs being setup on the campus lawn

How-to Guide to Planning an Event

What type of an event are you hosting? What is your goal? These are the critical questions you must ask yourself before organizing an event. Be clear about your vision and goals. This will help streamline the many details that go into planning a successful event.

Few events are organized by a single person. Often there is an entire committee of people who will provide input, with each wishing to be responsible for a portion of the planning process. It is critical that one person be designated to oversee the entire event from planning to execution. If you do not have one person who knows the status of everything, there is a good chance that details will be overlooked.

Once you have your concept, and you know who will be working on the event, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What date is the event?
  2. What time will it begin and end?
  3. Will it be a banquet, reception, lecture, party, or meeting?
  4. How many people are expected to attend?

Based on the answers to these four questions, the person reserving the room can identify the appropriate space.

If your date is contingent on the availability of an outside speaker or guest, first talk to that person and get two or three dates they are available. When you call to book the room, ask that it be put on hold, for up to 30 days, for all of the possible dates. Once the room is secured, finalize the date with your speaker or guest, and immediately cancel the dates you don’t need. Remember: If you do not cancel the unwanted dates within 30 days, you may lose them all.

Once you have booked your room, consider these questions:

  • Do you need invitations or programs?
  • How does the room need to be set up? Theater style, with rows of chairs? Banquet style, with round tables and chairs? A special set up?
  • Do you need a podium?
  • Do you need audio visual equipment, including microphones, a screen, or a projector?
  • What, if any, food do you want to provide? Will there be a bar, and if so, will it be hosted or cash? Remember: All food and beverage must be provided by Clark Dining Services, and will require 30 days’ notice if having a cash bar.
  • Is extra staffing required? This includes people from your committee, technical staff, and University Police. University Police must be present for all cash bars.
  • Does your speaker or guest require additional security? If yes, contact University Police immediately so a plan of action can be created.

As you answer the above questions, contact the department in charge of that aspect immediately. Make sure you follow up with the departments three to five days before your event to make sure everything is all set.

You should plan to arrive at least a half hour before your guests to make sure everything is ready. If you have a complicated setup, you will want to check the room even earlier in case any changes need to be made.

Make sure you have adequate staffing from your department or organization. You also will want to familiarize yourself with light and sound system settings.

Clark Guidelines

The primary use of Clark University space is to support the activities of Clark faculty, staff, students, and alumni. External groups are welcome on campus as space and services permit. External client meetings and events are subject to room rentals and service fees. Pricing is updated annually by the University Events Office. To obtain a quote, please contact us at 1-508-793-7471.

All food and beverages for events on the Clark University campus must be provided by Harvest Table Dining Services. Arrangements for all food and beverage orders must be made directly with the catering manager by calling (508) 793-7124 or by accessing the Dining Services website.

Regulations for alcohol service in Clark facilities include:

  • The Events Planning Office must be made aware that alcohol will be served at your event at the time of booking.
  • All events with alcohol must comply with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and City of Worcester.
  • All events with alcohol must use Sodexo Catering.
  • No outside alcohol is allowed campus.
  • A one-day liquor license may be required, at the cost of the sponsoring group. Sodexo Catering will need a 30-day notice and will determine if a license is needed.
  • Certain event spaces may be subject to additional rental fees (e.g., drape) in order to keep view of bar private and contained.
  • Groups booking and attending an event where alcohol is served are not allowed to leave the event space.
  • Event host must inform Events Office if attendees will include guests under 21. If so, the host must identify these guests in a prominent fashion (e.g., wristbands).
  • Events with alcohol may be subject to University Police fees.

Students in residence halls and student events must adhere to the alcohol policies outlined in student policies and procedures.

  • University Police fees are $55 per hour for University events, $70 per hour for external events, with a four-hour minimum. Charges will be determined and applied at the time of booking.
  • Events in excess of 100 guests may require a University Police officer, depending on the nature of the event. Some events with less than 100 guests may also require an officer. That determination will be made at time of booking.
  • Events with alcohol may be required to have a University Police officer.
  • Events where there will be cash exchanged (e.g., fundraisers, cash bar, vendor fair) are required to have a University Police officer present.
  • Certain events may require more than one officer to be present. This will be determined by the Events Planning Office and Clark’s chief of police.
  • During certain times of the year (academic breaks, summer, holidays), events will be charged a custodial fee.
  • Certain events (e.g., dances, social gatherings, catered meals) will be charged a custodial fee if the Events Planning Office deems it necessary.
  • Rates are determined by the Events Planning Office and Physical Plant.
  • If the event does not have a custodial fee assessed, the host group is responsible for tidying up the space and leaving it as it was found. Failure to do so will result in a cleaning bill at the expense of the host group.
  • No signs, decorations, props, or exhibits shall be affixed to any item on the premises, including, but not limited to, floors, walls, ceilings, and furniture. Exceptions will be considered on an event-by-event basis. Permission must be obtained ahead of time from the Event Services manager.
  • The organization or group booking the facility is responsible for the removal of all signs, decorations, props, exhibits, or like articles. A charge will be assessed by the Events Planning Office if items are not removed by the end of the designated time, or if any damage has been done.

Due to liability concerns, the University reserves the right to require specific types and limits of insurance coverage for activities sponsored by an off-campus organization. Upon request, proof of this coverage must be supplied no later than 30 days prior to the event.

Notice of cancellation must be made in writing no less than 30 days prior to the start of the event to receive a full refund, less any expenses already incurred on your behalf. Any cancellation made in writing 7 to 30 days prior to the event will forfeit the deposit in its entirety. Any cancellation made less than 7 days prior to the event start date will forfeit the deposit and be responsible for the remaining room rental and set-up costs.

  • A 50 percent deposit of all estimated costs, along with a signed contract, is due 30 days from the time of booking. Any event booked less than 30 days prior to the start date will have a 50 percent deposit due upon receipt.
  • Full payment is due 7 days prior to your event.
  • At close of event, a final bill is sent out showing a balance due, if any. A balance due may be a result of any changes, additions, cleaning fees, damage fees, etc. that were assessed after the original invoice was sent. Final bill payments must be received 30 days from date on invoice.
  • The Events Planning Office reserves the right to require full payment at any time.
  • Unless otherwise stated, you will have access to the room(s) 30 minutes prior to the start of the event. You are expected to be out of the room by the specified end time.
  • If the rental contract is granted, it is understood that Clark University Events Planning reserves the right to cancel the contract should it be determined that the facilities needed are required by Clark University. Every attempt will be made to avoid such conditions.
Contact Information

University Events

Office Location
  • Clark University
    University Events
    950 Main Street
    Worcester, MA 01610-1477

  • 1-508-793-7471