Event Planning Guidelines

Planning an Event?

Here are some resources for planning an event on campus. If you would like to request assistance or advising with event planning, contact PAACH Staff or the Collective for Asian Pacific Events

Event Planning Timeline
A timeline of tasks for small events. For assistance with large-scale events or conferences, please email PAACH Staff.

Event Venues 
Venues available for event use on and around Penn’s campus.

Funding Sources
A joint project between the Undergraduate Assembly and the Student Activities Council.

Penn Academic Calendar
A calendar of University-wide dates and holidays. 

Here are some resources for planning an event on campus. If you would like to request assistance or advising with event planning, contact PAACH Staff or the Collective for Asian Pacific Events

Event Planning Timeline

If you would like to request assistance with planning an event, contact Shiella Cervantes or the
Collective for Asian Pacific Events.

3 Months Before

  • Email speaker/performer or booking agent with possible event dates. Ask for a quote, including
    travel and accommodation expectations.
  • Choose date and time, taking into account academic calendar and other events.
  • Check available venues on campus for availability and book space.
  • Put together budget for the event, including possible funding sources.


2 Months Before

  • Submit funding applications. *Remember: Group must have full amount available in budget
    before contract will be signed.
  • Finalize booking details. Submit standard University contract to speaker/performer for
  • Submit signed contract to the Office of Student Affairs. *Remember: Students are not allowed
    to sign any contracts. Contracts should be submitted to the Office of Student Affairs.


1 Month Before

  • Contact speaker/performer to determine A/V needs and request official bio for promotion.
  • Contact and confirm any additional student performers.
  • Contact food vendors for a menu and quote. Book food vendor.
  • Submit requests for any funding still needed.
  • Place requests for any necessary A/V, housekeeping, security, etc.
  • Design promotional material. Make sure to include all sponsors and event partners. Obtain
    permission to use copyrighted material from speaker/performer.


3 Weeks Before

  • Begin promotion (email, FB event, postering).
  • Meet with Perelman Quad event coordinator to confirm room layout and event requirements.

2 Weeks Before

  • Begin Locust Walk flyering shifts.
  • Send speaker/performer schedule of event. Request outline of presentation.
  • Contact food vendor to confirm order.

1 Week Before

  • Contact speaker/performer to confirm travel plans and receive updated contact information.
  • Run of show schedule finalized and distributed among coordinators.
  • Confirm accommodations and travel arrangements.
  • Assign dayof tasks to board members/volunteers.
  • Print programs for event.
  • Print name tags if necessary.
  • Buy thank you gift for speaker/performer.
  • Buy decorations if necessary.

Day Before Event

  • Call food vendors to confirm delivery time.
  • Call A/V if third party vendor to confirm arrival time, setup, and sound check if needed.
  • Confirm arrival time with student performers.
  • Share phone numbers among coordinators if needed.

Day of Event

  • Meet or pick up speaker/performer if necessary.
  • Decorate venue, display signage and directions if necessary.
  • Supervise food and A/V setup.
  • Set up checkin table.
  • Print out sign/in sheet evaluations if necessary.

Post Event

  • Collect all receipts, including all travel receipts from speaker/performer.
  • Submit receipts to budget administrator.
  • Write and send thank you notes.
  • Submit event reports if necessary.
  • Administer assessment to event attendees if necessary.

Venues available for rental on and around Penn’s campus

Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts 3680 Walnut St.
Three theaters, lobby, meeting rooms. Reservation fee required.

The Christian Association 118 South 37th St.
Space available for faith development, peace, and social justice work.

Civic House 3914 Locust Walk
Living room, small meeting rooms. Must be used for nonprofit purposes.

College Houses

Dubois College House 3900 Walnut St.
Large multipurpose room with attached kitchen, small meeting rooms. Restrictions and reservation fee may apply.

Harnwell College House 3820 Locust Walk
Dance gallery, small and medium meeting spaces, rooftop lounge. Restrictions apply.

Rodin College House 3901 Locust Walk
Music practice rooms, movie screening room, small and medium meeting spaces, rooftop lounge. Restrictions apply.

Ware College House 3650 Spruce
McClelland Hall, small study rooms.

Greenfield Intercultural Center 3708 Chestnut St.
Living room with attached kitchen, small and medium meeting spaces, garden.

International House 3701 Chestnut St.
Large theater with stage, small and medium meeting spaces.

Kelly Writers House 3805 Locust Walk
Space available for writing-related events.

Newman Center 3720 Chestnut St.
Large event space on ground floor.

Penn LGBT Center 3907 Spruce St.
Large library, large meeting room with attached kitchenette, private lounge.

Penn Museum 3260 South St.
Large auditorium with stage, large lecture room, large special event space. Reservation fee required.

Penn Women’s Center 3643 Locust Walk
Living room, small meeting spaces, green kitchen, outdoor garden.

Perelman Quadrangle
Main University reservation system. Small, medium, and large meeting event spaces, classrooms, practice rooms.

The Perelman School of Medicine
Various spaces available. Reservation fee required.

Sweeten Alumni House 3533 Locust Walk
Living room and conference room. Available for alumni-related events. Call 215-898-7814.

Funding Sources

The purpose of this document is to serve as a compilation of the most common funding sources for undergraduate students and student groups on campus. In the past few years, an increasing number of student groups have had unmet needs for funds that could be used to bring a positive contribution to Penn’s campus and / or improve the undergraduate experience of students.

According to Fran Walker in the Office of Student Life, Penn Trustees first allocated money to the Undergraduate Assembly to distribute among student government and student groups in the 1960s. The Trustees at that time determined a fixed amount to give to the UA each year. Several years later, University administration elected to increase that fixed amount each year by the same percentage as the increase in the General Fee that students paid, and this system continues to be used now. The UA received $1.72 million from the Trustees for 2008-09.

The funding sources included in this document are organized into three categories:

Student Funding Boards

Academic & Administrative Funding Sources

Additional Suggestions

Within each of these three categories, funding sources are listed in the order in which groups should seek them out, given that the group seeking funds meets the funding criteria for that particular source. There is no order of preference assigned to the three categories (i.e. groups do not have to exhaust all funding sources in the “Student Funding Boards” category before moving to sources in the “Additional Suggestions” category). Both the Undergraduate Assembly and the Student Activities Council encourage groups to seek funding simultaneously from sources listed in each of the three categories.

While we recognize that this document is not an exhaustive list of all available funding sources, we believe it is an excellent starting point for student groups in search of potential funding sources.

Student Funding Boards:

The primary funding organization on Penn’s campus for undergraduate student groups is SAC. Student groups that are currently SAC recognized apply for an annual budget, but in the case of unforeseen costs, they may submit a Contingency Request for additional funding.

For student groups that are not SAC recognized and wish to seek SAC recognition, more information

can be found at:


Student groups should be organized and putting on events for at least a year, and if SAC recognition is granted, newly recognized groups cannot apply for SAC funding for at least three months after recognition.

If your event is one that brings together at least two groups who normally do not collaborate with each other and is not a speaker event, you may apply to Tangible Change for funding. T-Change’s mission is to provide a forum for student leaders to plan and fund events which seek to bring together large and disparate audiences. Events must be non-alcoholic and non-fundraising that cater primarily to undergraduates.

T-Change is funded by VPUL and received approximately $40,000 to distribute for the 2007-08 year. One unique aspect about T-Change is that it is one of the few organizations that does fund food expenses. In the past, T-Change has funded events such as a Microfinance Conference and a rap battle between students from the Vietnamese Student Association and Muslim Students Association.

  • Intercultural Fund (ICF):

Penn’s six minority coalition groups – Asian Pacific Student Coalition (APSC), Lambda Alliance, Latino Coalition, Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women (PCUW), UMOJA and the United Minorities Council (UMC) – are administering an Intercultural Fund and plan to distribute $17,500 per semester ($35,000 total) to undergraduate programming and events on campus.

The mission of the Intercultural Fund is to enhance student life at Penn by supporting events that break boundaries, celebrate our diversity, and provide forums for underrepresented communities to express themselves. Funding has been provided to these six Managing Coalitions by VPUL, with the ICF Board given authority to allocate the funds as it sees fit. The six-member ICF Board consists of either the Finance Chair, Treasurer or another non-Chair or non-Vice Chair of each of the six Managing Coalitions.


  • The Intercultural Fund aims to foster cross-community building through collaborations between student organizations affiliated with the Campus Resource Centers (mentioned above). The focus and content of such collaborations should be diverse, attracting audiences that would not naturally associate with each other. Collaborating organizations are expected to be equal partners in the planning of the programming. Co-sponsorship in name only does not indicate significant collaboration.
  • Among the collaborating organizations there must be at least two student groups that are collectively associated with at least two different cultural centers.
  • The Intercultural Fund highly considers the originality and creativity of a proposal during its review. However, already existing events that foster intercultural collaboration congruent with the ICF Mission will also be considered.
  • The Intercultural Fund considers the content, scope and impact of a proposal during its review, specifically, how these factors directly relate to the student community. Furthermore, simple preference is given to large-scale events.
  • The Intercultural Fund reserves the right to review line-item budgets of all submitted proposals and to include this review in its decision. Budget items will be reviewed for “need” versus “want” status.
  • All publicity and / or programming materials for the event (co)sponsored by the Intercultural Fund must bear the Intercultural Fund name and logo.
  • Intercultural Fund does not fund events at which alcohol is present, sectarian activities, or fundraising events, as appropriate with VPUL guidelines.
  • Intercultural Fund does not fund retroactively.

For more detailed information regarding the funding procedure and to obtain a copy of the application, please e-mail interculturalfund@gmail.com at least three weeks prior to your group’s event.

PASS seeks to foster bonds across generations of Quakers and promote school spirit. PASS-sponsored activities include a networking conference with Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW), Post-Penn Perspectives Panel with young alumni nationwide on city life after Penn, Move to New York broker event with the Penn Club of New York, Homecoming receptions and mentoring events, Penn-Princeton basketball pre-game reception with Philadelphia Club and the Red & Blue Crew, introducing high school students to Penn through collaboration with the Alumni Council on Admissions and Linking Legacies, Clash of the Classes with Class Boards, and co-partnerships with various student umbrella groups and cultural resource centers.

Any undergraduate student group planning an event or program that aims to foster meaningful alumni-student interactions and is open to all members of the Penn community is eligible to apply for additional funding from PASS. Such sponsorship requests will be considered on an on-going case-by-case basis, with the expectation that the requesting group have at least two active General Body members, with membership defined as per PASS’s By-Laws. The amount of funding available to eligible groups is open to discussion.

For more information, please visit: http://www.alumni.upenn.edu/pass. To apply, please e-mail pass@dev.upenn.edu.

If you wish to bring a speaker with an honorarium in excess of $100, your funding source is SPEC Connaissance:

SPEC Connaissance distributes funds in the forms of annual and non-annual co-sponsorships for speakers.

  • The organizations / events that currently get annual co-sponsorships are the Muslim Students Association, APAHW, Unity Week, FLASH, Civic House, Black History Month, Haitian Solidarity Week, QSA / QPENN, Festival Latino, Philomathean Society, Hillel, Holocaust Memorial Day, South Asian Society, Lubavitch, Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women, and GUIDE.
  • Any student group can apply to SPEC Connaissance for a non-annual co-sponsorship if they are planning on bringing a speaker to Penn’s campus. For the 2008-09 year, SPEC Connaissance has $23,000 available to distribute in non-annual co-sponsorships. Applications must be turned in at least four weeks prior to the event. Additionally, other sources of funding must be consulted before applying for a co-sponsorship. For more detailed information, please visit: http://specevents.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=89&Itemid=157.
  • Expenses for honoraria, travel and lodging are commonly funded by Connaissance. If the honorarium is less than $100, your request should go directly to SAC. Here is a general overview of SPEC funding:


If your event is entertainment, social or social / cultural, is not a charity event and you have a solid plan of what you want to do but lack funding, your best source of funds is SPEC Fully Planned:

Any organization that has an event that is “fully planned” and needs some sort of funding can apply to the SPEC Fully Planned fund, which has $24,000 for the 2008-09 year. The sponsoring organization develops the program and the budget and SPEC provides the funding. Example: Mask & Wig’s ComFest.

Fully Planned generally entails that all costs are known, the facilities are set, the other sources of

funding are finalized, etc. Fully Planned does not fund meals, gifts, receptions, or donations. Groups

are also expected to seek other appropriate sources of funding before application to Fully Planned.

Applications to Fully Planned must be submitted at least four weeks prior to the event. The sponsoring

organization must also e-mail exec@specevents.net to notify the Executive Board that an application has

been submitted. For more information, please visit:


SPEC-TRUM (SPEC-To Represent Undergraduate Minorities):

SPEC-TRUM co-sponsors many large-scale events throughout the year that provide quality entertainment that addresses the diversity interest within the University community. These include Asian Pacific American Heritage Week (APAHW), QPENN, Festival Latino, Unity Week, Kwanzaa Celebration, and Carifest. If your group has an event during one of SPEC-TRUM’s co-sponsored events, you may apply directly to the week-long event or celebration for some funding.

General Event Co-Sponsorships:

If your event is entertainment, social or social / cultural, is not a charity event and is in the idea stages only, your best source of funds is a general co-sponsorship. SPEC is organized into many different committees. Other committees that may assist groups either monetarily or with event planning include Art Gallery, Concerts, Film, Jazz and Grooves, SPEC-TRUM, Sound, and Special Events. For more information about each of these committees, you can visit the SPEC homepage and click on the committee of interest.

ESAC receives about $24,000 annually from the School of Engineering to allocate to member groups. Similar to applying for SAC recognition, engineering-focused groups must go through a recognition process before any funding is obtained. Once a member of ESAC, each group receives at least $200 per semester for operating expenses. If additional funding is needed for specific events, a group may submit an event proposal form to receive reimbursement for an event.

Wharton Council has about $11,000 to distribute to Wharton Council member groups. Groups must go through an application process, similar to that of applying to SAC, with unique requirements to be eligible for funding. Wharton Council member groups may receive funding based on the size of the event being held. Items such as food, marketing expenses, banners, transportation (SEPTA), and other miscellaneous equipment can be funded while speaker fees / accommodations, car rentals and taxi fares, events serving alcohol, and events that are not open to the Penn community will not be funded. Applications for funding must be turned in ten business days before the event.

As described above, the UA annually receives and distributes ~$1.7 million to Penn’s six branches of student government (i.e. Undergraduate Assembly, Student Activities Council, Student Planning and Events Committee, Nominations and Elections Committee, Student Committee on Undergraduate Education and the four Class Boards).

The UA maintains a separate Contingency Fund if financial assistance is needed because of unforeseen expenses. Student groups may apply to this fund as an absolute last resort after funding from all applicable sources in all applicable categories has been requested.

In the past, the Contingency Fund has been used to fund UA projects and initiatives such as pre-orientation programs and the UA Collegiate Readership Program (The New York Times), as well as student organizations such as Penn Leads the Vote.

Academic & Administrative Funding Sources:

VPUL is the division that oversees a majority of departments and administrative organizations that affect students. These include health and academic support services such as Weingarten Learning Resource Center, CAPS, and Student Health; intercultural programs such as PAACH and the Greenfield Intercultural Center; resource centers such as Career Services and Penn Women’s Center; and student activities resources such as the Office of Student Life and Civic House. In the past, VPUL has contributed additional funds towards Hey Déjà Vu, the senior event during Hey Day and various pre-orientation programs. Additionally, individual departments / centers under VPUL may be contacted individually.

VPUL Departments / Affiliated Student Organizations:

  • Civic House Associates Coalition (CHAC): CHAC serves as the community service hub on Penn’s campus. CHAC generally funds start-up and supplemental funding for service events and projects. Grants are usually under $500. For more information, please visit: http://www.dolphin.upenn.edu/chac/.
  • Greenfield Intercultural Center (GIC) / United Minorities Council (UMC):

The GIC’s purpose is to serve as an intercultural resource on campus by supporting the UMC, fostering race dialogue, and promoting PACE classes, among many other things. Any student group may apply to GIC / UMC for a co-sponsorship of intercultural events that supports GIC’s mission. Applications must be submitted four weeks in advance. For more details, please visit: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/gic/fundingprocedures.htm.

  • La Casa Latina / Latino Coalition (LC):

The mission of La Casa Latina lies within developing greater awareness of Latino issues, culture and identity on Penn’s campus. For events that promote the values of La Casa Latina, student groups may apply for a co-sponsorship. Generally, co-sponsorships are less than $50. For more details, please visit: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lacasa/forms/form_cosponsor.html.

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Center / Lambda Alliance:

The LGBT Center serves to support Penn lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, staff, alumni, and faculty and to increase the general Penn community’s understanding and acceptance of its sexual and gender minority members. Student groups may apply to the LGBT Center for events that promote the LGBT Center’s mission. For more details, please visit: http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/lgbtc/.

  • Makuu / UMOJA:

The purpose of Makuu is to serve as a cultural resource center for Penn students interested in Black culture. Additionally, Makuu provides support and guidance to individual students and student groups, while aiming to identify student-evidenced challenges and enhance collaborative efforts among students. Students may apply for funding if an event promotes Makuu’s mission. For more details, please visit:


  • Pan-Asian American Community House (PAACH) / Asian Pacific Student Coalition (APSC): The mission of PAACH is to support the needs of Penn’s Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, to develop programs that bridge Asian American Studies and student affairs, and to cultivate a greater sense of Pan-Asian American and Pacific Islander community. To that end, events that fit under this mission may receive funding from PAACH. For more details, please visit:


  • Penn Women’s Center / Penn Consortium of Undergraduate Women (PCUW):

For information related to funding resources available from PCUW or the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW), please contact PCUW co-chair Brooke Boyarsky at: boyarsky@sas.upenn.edu.

CHAS has limited funding that can go towards events that directly relate to the College House system at Penn. For example, CHAS is a co-sponsor of the Collegiate Readership Program, which brings the New York Times to each College House.

Fox Leadership is an organization dedicated to promoting leadership in any form amongst undergraduate students. In the past, Fox Leadership’s Steering Committee has approved co-sponsorships. Additionally, the Fox Leadership Directors have been influential in making funding decisions. Please see the website for the contact information for the Steering Committee and directors.

  • Provost’s Office:

In the past, the Office of the Provost has opted to fund initiatives that can benefit the undergraduate community. Examples include pre-orientation programs, the UA Collegiate Readership Program, and even events, such as QPENN week.

  • Academic Departments:

Most, if not all, academic departments have some funds that they can contribute towards events that directly relate to that department. Each department may have different procedures and guidelines on funding events and so should be contacted individually. For example, the Environmental Studies Department contributed $250 towards the pilot program for PennGreen, an environmentally themed pre-orientation program.

A travel grant fund has been established to help undergraduate students in the College defray the cost of travel and / or conference registration fees to participate in an academic conference. Grants may be awarded to students who are presenting a paper or a poster at a scholarly meeting. The fund will provide grants of up to $500 per student per year. Please visit the link for more information as well as how to apply.

Additional Suggestions:

  • Fundraising Events:

If your group needs only a few hundred dollars, we recommend simple fundraising as an extremely simple, yet effective method. This is an excellent way to raise money for charity events, as most on-campus organizations cannot fund non-profit organizations or events that directly contribute to them. Fundraising can include things as simple as bake sales, raffles, auctions, etc. Members can also participate in the Psychology Department’s experiments (http://www.psych.upenn.edu/experiments) or the Wharton Behavioral Labs (http://bhlab.wharton.upenn.edu).

  • Soliciting Donations from Local Businesses:

Student groups have had success soliciting donations from businesses throughout the local Philadelphia area.

  • Alumni Donations:

Additionally, alumni of your organization are often willing to donate money, so we recommend contacting them as well. However, before contacting alumni directly, you should contact the Office of Student Life (http://www.vpul.upenn.edu/osl/contactosl.html), as some fundraising on campus may require a vending permit.

  • Membership Dues:

Organizations can institute a membership dues structure. The requirement of a membership fee must be clearly stated in the organization’s constitution and must not deter or prevent members from joining a group. A nominal fee is strongly recommended for membership dues.

Both the Undergraduate Assembly and Student Activities Council hope this document will connect undergraduate student groups to additional funding resources that will enable them to broaden their impact and further enrich the undergraduate experience. For further assistance, please contact UA Treasurer Ben Coulter (bcoulter@wharton.upenn.edu).