Home » Student Engagement

Student Engagement

Advisers to Student OrganizationsCommunications, StudentFreedom of ExpressionFundingGovernance, StudentOrganization Offices, Student /  Publicity Promotions and AdvertisingEvent Registration, Space Reservation, and Event PlanningSale, Solicitation, and FundraisingSound Amplification and Noise

Contributing to the University’s mission of teaching and learning, student-engagement opportunities help build a community in which students may develop not only as scholars, but also as well-rounded individuals. Engagement in co-curricular endeavors provides a balance of challenge and support designed to enhance students’ intellectual and personal development. Participation aids students in becoming ethical, responsible, and self-disciplined leaders; challenged to develop an appreciation for civility and diversity; prepared for community leadership and citizenship; and supported in an environment that embraces discourse and the exchange of ideas.

Students receive advising in their student-organization roles in areas such as organizational behavior, financial management, ethical decision-making, accountability, and recruitment/retention. Finally, through opportunities to become engaged in the community, students celebrate their own, and each other’s contributions to University life and the larger community.

Advisers to Registered Student Organizations

Registered student organizations are required to have faculty or staff advisers. Assistance may be obtained from the Student Organizations and Governance concerning financial responsibilities, interpretation of policies and procedures, and methods for obtaining a faculty or administrative adviser.

Advisers are available to counsel and advise officers and members of the organization regarding their responsibilities and to help oversee the activities and finances of the organization. The adviser is expected to be aware of the financial status of the organization to help ensure that the organization remains solvent. Advisers do not have the authority to prohibit the expression of editorial opinion by a campus publication.  Please see the Student Organization Manual for a more detailed listing of guidelines and requirements (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentorganizations/students-organizations-manual).

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Communications, Student


Any student organization, supported directly or indirectly by the University, financially or otherwise, wishing to print and distribute a newsletter, must be registered by Student Organizations and Governance. Newsletters should inform members of the organization or interested persons about news and activities relevant to that student group, but may not be a journal of opinion.

Vanderbilt Student Publications

Publications for general distribution to the University community or to persons outside the membership of a student organization and publications funded directly by the student activities fee are under the exclusive authority of VSC.

Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC), is a nonprofit corporation, affiliated with the University, which publishes and supervises the Vanderbilt Hustler, the campus newspaper; InsideVandy.com, online student community site; the Commodore yearbook; The Vanderbilt Review, an annual literary/arts magazine; The Torch, a libertarian and conservative publication; The Slant, a humor publication; Orbis, a liberal and minority viewpoint publication; The Vanderbilt Political Review, an academic journal; WRVU, an online and HD FM radio station; and Vanderbilt Television, VTV Channel 6.

Other Publications

Distribution of publications not produced by Vanderbilt organizations must conform to University policies regulating the use of University facilities.

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Freedom of Expression

  • Meetings open only to members. A campus organization may invite any person to address its members, but organizations must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with the Office of Reservations and Events in Sarratt Student Center, and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
  • Meetings open to the Vanderbilt community. An organization may invite any person, approved by the majority of its members, who represents a point of view pertinent to the occasion to speak to an assemblage of the Vanderbilt community, provided that the sponsorship of the event is consistent with the purposes of the organization.
  • Registered student organizations may also order films to show on campus.  The motion picture titles shown on the Vanderbilt campus are cleared by the distributors for public performance exhibition.  This means that Vanderbilt has the legal right to show titles before groups of students, faculty, and their friends on campus.  The “home use” versions of these same titles, obtained from video stores, etc., are not cleared by the distributors for public performance use by the University, because proper licensing fees to the copyright owners have not been paid for such use.  Films, videos, or DVDs may not be shown to dorm audiences, clubs, fraternities, sororities, or other organizations, without first obtaining a public performance license.  The Office of Reservations and Events, 100 Sarratt Student Center, 615-32(2-2448), can provide additional information.
  • Procedures for assemblies described above include registering in advance with the Office of Reservations and Events, Sarratt Student Center, so as to ensure the adequacy of arrangements, minimize schedule conflicts, reserve space, and demonstrate ability to pay for costs incurred.
  • Meetings open to the public. For open meetings sponsored by campus organizations, procedures for reserving space through the Office of Reservations and Events must be followed.
  • Disruptive activity. Vanderbilt students engaging in disruptive action or disorderly conduct, particularly that which obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, or other authorized activities on University premises, are subject to University disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion. Vanderbilt students and others may also be subject to criminal prosecution.
  • Limitations on meetings. The University may restrict the times and places of organization meetings on University premises. A campus organization denied permission to sponsor an assembly may appeal the decision to the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee.
  • Sponsorship. A registered student organization that sponsors an activity will be responsible for registration, arrangements, publicity, costs incurred, and the conduct of the participants. The Dean of Students, or the dean’s designee, must approve access to University facilities for requests from registered student organizations that wish to use the facilities for a speaker of their choosing. Off-campus groups may cooperate with a registered student organization in a campus event, but the campus organization remains fully responsible for the conduct of the off-campus group, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must pre-approve the arrangement. Off-campus groups or individuals wishing to use University facilities independently must conform to University policies and must request access through the Office of Reservations and Events.
  • Physical distribution of printed statements or electronic media. Persons who distribute printed materials or materials on electronic media are responsible for the contents. Students may distribute leaflets, informational sheets, compact discs, or similar materials on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance and so as to avoid restricting access. For outdoor events, distributors may position themselves twenty feet from the reserved lawn or area, again in a manner so as to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials and the name and contact information of the distributing individual or organization must be provided on each piece.

Information about the sale of printed statements, etc., and the display of posters can be found in the sections “Sale and Solicitation” and “Publicity, Promotion, and Advertising,” below. Campus organizations sponsoring events involving controversial persons or views are responsible for providing for the safety and well-being of their guests. Arrangements must be made with the Office of Reservations and Events.

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Funding (See also “Sales, Solicitation, and Fundraising,” below.)

Students enrolled in Vanderbilt University pay a Student Activities Fee. On an annual basis, the Activities Fee Committee of Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) recommends to the Dean of Students allocations of these fees for registered student organizations that sponsor programs, projects, and services that benefit the students who have paid the fees. Applications for a regular allocation are available in January, and are due to the AcFee Committee at the end of February, for funding in the subsequent academic year. In general, programs must demonstrate a wide campus appeal, be available to all students (including graduate and professional students), be free of charge or provided at a reduced rate for students, and must enhance the overall educational, social, or cultural climate available to all students.

Due to the nature of the activities fee’s purpose, only registered student organizations and their respective programs are eligible for activities fee allocations. Further, funds allocated through the AcFee Committee’s recommendation process are subject to some restrictions on their use. More information on student organization eligibility and programming restrictions for activities fee allocations, may be found in the Student Organizations Manual, available online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentorganizations/students-organizations-manual.
See also “Fees, Co-Curricular” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”

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Governance, Student

Graduate & Professional Student

The Graduate School and all of the professional schools and/or programs have representative student organizations that serve as channels for student opinion.

Graduate Student Council of the Graduate School. Membership comprises one elected representative from each department, but any graduate student may participate.

Graduate/Professional Student Association of Peabody College. Membership comprises representatives elected by students in each department. This body coordinates academic, social, and other activities significant to the student community and is also available to the administration and faculty for consultation regarding concerns of the students in Peabody College.

Vanderbilt Bar Association. Membership comprises students of the Law School who are directed by a Board of Governors elected by the classes.

Student Council of the Divinity School. Membership comprises editors of the two student publications and representatives from the various levels of academic training.

Council of Class Officers (School of Medicine). Membership comprises elected officers from each class.

Graduate Nursing Council. Membership comprises representatives of each of the five clinical majors in the M.S.N. program.

Owen School Student Association (OSSA). The Executive Council membership comprises five second-year representatives and four first-year representatives, but all registered candidates for Owen School degrees may participate in OSSA activities. OSSA provides leadership and coordination for professional and social activities.


The University recognizes a representative student organization that serves as a channel for student opinion for each school. Recognition has been extended by the University, in consultation with the Office of the Dean of Students, to the following governing bodies:

Arts and Science Council. Membership includes the presidents of all registered academic majors’ associations, one first-year student, and one sophomore representative. Students of the College of Arts and Science elect the president, vice-president, secretary, and treasurer.

Blair Council. Membership is represented by elected members from the classes and by an elected Executive Committee.

Engineering Council. Membership includes elected representatives from each of the classes, the president, and one elected representative from each registered professional society.

Student Association of Peabody College. The association is directed by an Executive Committee, whose  members are elected at large by students of Peabody College. Each class also has a representative on the Executive Committee.

Panhellenic, National Pan-Hellenic, and Interfraternity Councils. The Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the Interfraternity Council (IFC), which govern the activities of the Greek social organizations, are composed of representatives from registered national sororities and fraternities on campus.

Vanderbilt Student Government. Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) represents student interests, concerns, and aspirations, to the faculty and administration.  In addition, the organization sponsors and coordinates activities and programming promoting student involvement and interaction with faculty. Student interests are addressed through the Committee, Senate, and Cabinet structures within the organization. The Committees are as follows: Student Services, Campus Life, Academic Affairs, Student Health and Wellness, Community Building and Diversity, and Housing Facilities and Operations. The Senate comprises elected students representing the four undergraduate schools and residence halls.
In accordance with University policies, the purpose of the Vanderbilt Student Government is as follows:

  • to provide a means whereby undergraduates may effectively express their views and interests to other components of the University and to the outside community in matters which affect their social, cultural, physical, and academic welfare;
  • to stimulate effective student organizations and to coordinate their activities for the benefit of the Vanderbilt community; and, to provide for the development and coordination of activities and services beneficial to Vanderbilt students and the University community;
  • to serve as a liaison between students and the University; and,
  • to maintain effective student representation and participation in the decision-making process of the University.


To be eligible for participation in any contest or activity other than a social one, or to act as a representative of Vanderbilt in any public exercise, a student must be a full-time student of the University (as determined by the academic policies of the school in which he or she is registered). A student on disciplinary probation may not hold a leadership position, including (but not limited to) Admissions Tour Guide, VUceptor, Resident Adviser, head or business manager of a Vanderbilt Student Communications division, or head or business manager of a registered student organization. Registered student organizations and University departments may have additional eligibility requirements.

A student must be full time and not on academic or disciplinary probation to be eligible to hold office in a student organization or to be a division head or business manager of a Vanderbilt Student Communications division. For undergraduates, full-time registration is defined as being registered for, and carrying, at least twelve hours per semester during the regular academic year, or nine hours in the summer. Also, an undergraduate student must maintain a cumulative C average. For clarification, see “Nonacademic Undergraduate Class Designation” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations,” above.

Student organizations or their governing bodies may set eligibility standards that exceed these minimum standards, as long as such eligibility standards comply with the University’s nondiscrimination policy.

Requests for exception or waiver of eligibility regulations should be made through the Office of the Dean of Students with the recommendation of the appropriate governing body.

If a student’s participation in co-curricular endeavors threatens academic performance, the University may counsel the student about the scope of these activities. In addition, restrictions may be placed on a student’s participation in University co-curricular activities for duration of a disciplinary sanction.


The University regulates the campus activities of organizations and groups whose activities relate to the University’s educational and service purposes.

Student Organizations and Governance registers undergraduate and graduate student organizations within the Vanderbilt community. Sport clubs must have approval from the Director of Campus Recreation or the director’s designee. Religious groups must have approval from the University Chaplain and Director of Religious. Political groups must be approved by the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Volunteer and/or service organizations must be approved by the Director of Active Citizenship and Service. Greek-letter social organizations require the approval of the Director of Greek Life.

Student organizations must reapply for registration annually. Typically, the deadline for registration is in March for the subsequent academic year. Registration expires July 1 for organizations that fail to re-register, or that are unsuccessful in completing the registration process. All organizations must have a current membership roster and constitution and/or bylaws on file with Student Organizations and Governance.

The registration application will include a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, and names and contact information for officers and advisers. An organization must affirm that it does not discriminate unlawfully or in violation of University policy. (See “Equal Opportunity” section in Chapter 1 “Policies and Regulations.)

Registered student organizations must be open to all students as members and must permit all members in good standing to seek leadership posts.  Single-sex organizations are permissible to the extent allowed under Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681. Inquiries or complaints should be directed to Anita J. Jenious, J.D., Director; the Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services Department; Baker Building; PMB 401809, 2301 Vanderbilt Place; Nashville, TN 37240-1809. Telephone 615-32(2-4705) (V/TDD); FAX 615-34(3-4969.)

Organizations must affirm that they will conduct their activities in accordance with all University policies and federal, state, and local laws.

To be eligible for registration, an organization must:

  • be organized and run by officers who are full-time Vanderbilt students,
  • have at least one full-time, permanent, Vanderbilt faculty or staff member as its adviser,
  • maintain all funds on deposit in an account of good standing through the Office of Financial Affairs and follow appropriate accounting procedures (Special conditions apply to fraternities, sororities, and Vanderbilt Student Communications.),
  • be funded by its members or the University,
  • limit its voting membership to Vanderbilt students, faculty, or staff members (A limited number of other persons may be elected to honorary or associate membership without voting privileges.),
  • have purposes that do not overlap significantly with those of any other registered organization.

Through established policies and procedures, registered student organizations may seek

  • to use the name “Vanderbilt University,” or titles indicating institutional affiliation, such as “Black and Gold,” “VU,” or “Commodore,” in the name of the organization,
  • financial support from the University (Activities Fee allocation, and other sources when available),
  • to use University facilities for regular business (as in the case of campus publications),
  • to use University electronic resources (e.g., listservs, group@vanderbilt.edu electronic mail boxes, University hosted Website, Anchor Link), and to subscribe to the student leader listservs maintained by Student Organizations and Governance,
  • to use University meeting rooms and facilities at no charge or at a reduced rate,
  • to use common space allocated for registered student organizations, and to apply for storage space allocated for registered student organizations,
  • to solicit funds from, or make sales to, members of the University community on campus,
  • to use a campus address and campus mail services,
  • to advertise and promote the organization and its purposes on campus, and to advertise in Dean of Students supported publications and other media,
  • to publish events in the University Events Calendar and to use campus bulletin boards and kiosks to promote the organizations activities.
  • to use the University accounting system including certain business tools,

Registered student organizations may use the University’s name for purposes generally consistent with the organizations’ purposes and their usual activities or to identify themselves as campus groups (such as the Vanderbilt International Student Association). However, no organization is authorized to make either contractual commitments or binding statements on behalf of the University.

An organization may not use slogans or make statements that purport to speak for the University. For example, statements or slogans such as “Vanderbilt Backs Libertarians” may not be used by organizations unless they have been authorized to speak for the University. Published statements must carry the name of the responsible individual or organization. Unauthorized use or imitation of the official Vanderbilt stationery, logos, or marks, is prohibited.

Fraternities and Sororities

Fraternities and sororities must register annually with Student Organizations and Governance.  The Greek advisers assist with both registration and coordination of their activities. The Greek advisers serve as liaisons between these student groups and the University and between the University and the fraternity and sorority national organizations.  For information about policies relating to these groups, visit www.vanderbilt.edu/greek_life. Fraternities and sororities must be members of the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, which have governing responsibilities and disciplinary authority over their member groups. Disciplinary actions may be taken against fraternities and sororities by the Interfraternity Council (IFC),

Panhellenic Council, and National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) judicial boards for violations of fraternity, sorority, or University policies. Violations of University policies may also fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity.

The IFC and Panhellenic Council administer the recruitment programs for their member groups. NPHC organizations each administer its own recruitment program.

The IFC, Panhellenic Council, and NPHC set a minimum academic requirement to join a Greek organization; however, most chapters have higher academic standards. To be eligible for fraternity or sorority membership, students must have carried and passed twelve semester hours.  In addition, those seeking membership in Panhellenic or IFC organizations must have achieved a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Those seeking membership in NPHC organizations must meet minimum GPA requirement established by their individual chapters ranging from 2.3-3.0. Advanced Placement credits are not applicable and summer school credits apply only for sophomores and upperclass students.

Establishing Additional Fraternities and Sororities
Proposals for the establishment of additional fraternities and sororities may be made to, or initiated by, members of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, or Panhellenic Councils. If approved by the appropriate council, the proposal will be forwarded to the Greek Advisers for consideration. Upon the recommendations of the councils, the Greek Advisers, and the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee, the University may invite a national organization to colonize a new fraternity or sorority.

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Organization Offices and Mailboxes, Student

Registered student organizations share a large space in Rand Hall suitable for conducting business and interacting with other registered student organizations. Although accessible to any student, the space is designed for use by registered student organizations. Student organizations are prohibited from establishing offices, social spaces, or living quarters, off-campus.

Registered student organizations desiring University mailboxes may apply to the director of Student Organizations and Governance.

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Publicity Promotions and Advertising

Distribution of Notices in Campus Mail Boxes (See “Mail Services,” In Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations,” above.), Display of Posters, Banners, and Printed Announcements

Notices that provide information regarding student activities or academic matters, or make announcements pertinent to the business of the University may be posted on campus. Commercial advertising matter and posters unrelated to the University are prohibited since advertising opportunity is provided in campus publications. Individuals who advertise services to students (e.g., typing or sale of books) may post small notices on bulletin boards.

Notices must carry the name of the responsible campus organization or department.

Notices, posters, flyers, banners, etc., may not use logos or trademarks of alcoholic beverages, or mention or refer to alcoholic beverages or their availability at an event. “B.Y.O.B.,” as shorthand for “Bring Your Own Beverage,” may be used on postings, etc., for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process.

Nails, tacks, tape, or staples may not be used to attach posters to trees or buildings, but posters and banners may be tied to tree trunks with string.

Stakes bearing signs may not be driven into the ground. From time to time, University departments may install directional signs similar in design to those signs placed in yards for political campaigns. Student organizations desiring to use such signs must obtain authorization from the Director of Student Organizations and Governance, or the director’s designee. Note that the use of such signs is reserved for directions, only, that they may not be used for general advertising or promotion, and that they must be removed immediately at the conclusion of the event for which they are installed.

Posters and fliers may be posted by registered student organizations on the bulletin boards at The Commons Center, Rand Hall, Sarratt Student Center, and The Student Life Center with the authorization of building management, obtained at the reception desks of these facilities. The Kiosk at Stevenson Center may be used for poster display. Bulletin boards in classroom buildings, however, are reserved for announcements concerning academic programs. Notices may be attached to kiosks or bulletin boards with thumbtacks, but they may not be stapled or taped anywhere. Notices may not be posted on automobiles.

Registered student organizations may place posters that measure no more than 24” x 36” on the posting boards attached to the exterior walls of Rand. Each organization is limited to two posters or flyers, regardless of size, on each board, and must be authorized by building management at the Sarratt reception desk, as noted, above.

Permission to display banners in any residence must be obtained from the appropriate Area Coordinator for Housing and Residential Education. Permission to hang posters in the interior of Rand Hall must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining.

The University may remove posters, banners, or other advertising that remain three days after the date of an event, and may charge the person or organization responsible for them. Organizations will be held financially responsible for enforcing these policies with candidates for their respective offices. If an organization continually violates these policies, it may lose the privilege of posting notices or have its registration withdrawn. (See the Student Organization Manual for more specific information.)

Hand-Painted Signs and Banners

Hand-painted signs and banners should be made with acrylic latex house paint, which can be cleaned up with water. This paint will not dissolve in water or run, once dry. If a poster or banner stains the surface to which it is attached, the responsible student or organization will be charged for the stain removal. Space for making hand-painted signs and banners is available on the third floor of Rand Hall.

Banners may not be hung from trees, or between trees, or from or between other objects such as lampposts. With the endorsement and cooperation of student government, a series of poles with rigging especially designed for the hanging of banners has been installed on the east side of Rand Hall, to consolidate the display of banners.

Permission to paint designated windows in the dining or housing areas must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining or the Director of Housing Facilities, respectively.

Chalk, “Tagging,” etc.
The use of chalk on any surface other than a chalkboard is prohibited, and the use of chalkboards in classrooms is limited to instructional or meeting purposes.
Using markers, paint, or any other medium on any surface other than banners, posters, or flyers, is prohibited, as is using self-adhesive labels or stickers on surfaces other than banners, posters, or flyers. Individuals and organizations may be charged for repair or cleaning of damaged surfaces.

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Event Registration, Space Reservation, and Event Planning

Registration Requirement

University organizations are required to register all co-curricular programs and special events (meetings, concerts, lectures, etc.) with the Office of Reservations and Events, Suite 100 Sarratt Student Center 615-32(2-2448). Registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space on campus.

The University has established a priority system for events and a means to oversee the policy. These events in order of priority are:

  1. University Events (e.g., orientation programs, Commencement). No other events may be scheduled during these times.
  2. Primary Events (e.g., Alumni Reunion, move-in weekend, Family Weekend). Other events may be scheduled only with the approval of the coordinator of the primary event or the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee.
  3. Campus Events (all other co-curricular programs and activities).
    Scheduling conflicts will be resolved by the Office of Reservations and Events, Suite 100 Sarratt Student Center, 615-32(2-2448). Appeals of scheduling decisions regarding University, Primary, and Campus events may be made to the Dean of Students at deanofstudents@vanderbilt.edu.

Reserving Space

Registered student organizations are eligible to reserve and use space in campus buildings and other facilities. Reservations must be made in advance.

For nonacademic uses of most Vanderbilt facilities, reservations are made with the Office of Reservations and Events, Suite 100 Sarratt Student Center, 615-32(2-2448), whose personnel can make referrals to the appropriate offices for the rare exceptions.

A basic charge is made for most facilities. Some facilities are available for use by student organizations without charge; if, however, the facilities require more than ordinary housekeeping services after use, the organization will be charged for the additional service.

The Office of Reservations and Events recommends that organizations plan and make reservations for space on campus up to one year in advance. The types of space available are described in detail at the Reservations and Events Web site, www.vanderbilt.edu/reservations. To determine availability and cost of space, those seeking to reserve space may call the Reservations and Events office at 615-32(2-2448).

Each registered student organization may request up to two standing (recurring) room reservations per year, provided appropriate space is available.  For example, an organization may book a room for every Wednesday from 8pm to 10pm for an entire academic year, provided that a room is available. (Accommodation may be made by using two or more rooms across the duration of the reservation, if no single space is available for every occurrence.) Standing reservations may be made through the on-line reservation system, over the telephone 615-32(2-2448), or in person at the Reservations and Events office, 100 Sarratt Student Center.

For single-event reservations, Reservations and Events suggests a minimum of five days notice to reserve space.

Once space is reserved, Reservations and Events personnel may determine that a group be required to undertake the Special Event Registration process. (See “Special Event Registration,” below.)

Event Planning

  • The Reservations and Events office supports the coordination of space and resources on campus by guiding the Vanderbilt Community through the event planning process.  Reservations and Events asks that students discuss their events when making reservations and be prepared to present their needs for resources at the Special Event Registration Committee meeting, should an appearance before the committee be required. (See below.)
  • Meetings and events scheduled on weeknights must end at 11pm so as not to interfere with students’ sleep or study. When planning their events, organizations and departments should be cognizant of–and sensitive to–religious observances of a particularly solemn nature. A calendar of religious observances and holy days may be found on the Religious Life website.
  • Postbaccalaureate groups may serve alcoholic beverages to members who are of legal drinking age, if nonalcoholic beverages and food are also provided. All other applicable policies must be observed. (See Chapter 6, “Alcohol and Controlled Substances.”)
  • Undergraduate groups may not serve alcoholic beverages except with the authorization of the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Undergraduate students who are of legal drinking age may possess and consume alcohol at events registered and approved for consumption of alcohol. (See Chapter 6, “Alcohol and Controlled Substances.”)
  • Authorization must be obtained through the “Special Events Registration” process (see below), to hold a social event or other meeting to which persons other than Vanderbilt students, faculty, and staff will be invited.
  • The Special-Event Registration process is designed to support all outdoor events, large scale events (events open to the entire student population, or to the Vanderbilt or Nashville communities) and events with alcohol.
  • For fraternity or sorority functions, additional forms must be completed and submitted to the Office of Greek Life.
  • Events which require amplification (for musical instruments, stereos, vocal performances, or public address) may not take place at times during which, or in locations at which, they will interfere with scheduled classes or other previously scheduled events, and must be approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.

Special Event Registration

The Special Event Registration process is designed to support outdoor events, large-scale events, and events with alcohol. The Special Event Registration Committee is charged with approving such events on campus. The committee consists of representative(s) from Reservations and Events, Traffic and Parking, Vanderbilt University Police Department, Plant Operations, Health and Wellness, and a designee of the Dean of Students. The committee meets Wednesday, 2:30pm-3:30pm in Sarratt 114.

Reservations and Events can assist students with special event planning and ask that students discuss their events with the Registration and Events staff when making reservations, and that students be prepared to present their need for resources at the Special Event Registration Committee meeting. (See below.)

The following types of events must be registered through the Special Event Registration Process:

  • Outdoor events requiring services from Traffic and Parking, VUPD, Plant Operations, or Production Services (sound systems, etc.).
  • All events with undergraduate students—on or off campus—at which alcohol will be present (excluding parties at sorority/fraternity houses, because such parties are registered through a parallel process in the Office of Greek Life).
  • Events open to the general public.
  • Events with outdoor amplification.


  • Registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space on campus.
  • Outdoor events with tents require registration three and a half weeks in advance because acquiring a tent permit from the Metropolitan Nashville Davidson County government takes three weeks. Events requiring other services should be registered at least two and a half weeks in advance to ensure the availability of the required services.
  • Reservations for outdoor events not requiring any services must be made at least five days in advance. In such circumstances, the Reservations and Events office may determine that a group need not go through the Special Event Registration process.
  • If an event is to be cancelled, or does not take place, reservations must be cancelled at least one business day in advance to avoid charges. Student organizations and University departments will be held responsible for all expenses incurred as a result of any commitments made to facilitate the event.
  • Outdoor events that have amplification may not take place at times or locations that interfere with scheduled class times or other previously scheduled events.
  • Security may be required at the following events:
  • Activities open to the general public.
  • Band parties and concerts.
  • Events at which cash transactions will occur.

Tasks to complete before attending the Special Event Registration Committee meeting:
NOTE: Event registration will not be approved until the steps below are completed, and the required information submitted.

  • Students must first consult the University Events Calendar (http://calendar.vanderbilt.edu) and Reservations and Events staff to see what other events are already scheduled for that date. Students may not add an event to the University Calendar until it has been approved through the Special Event Registration process.
  • Students may then schedule a date with Registration and Events staff to attend a Special Event Registration Committee meeting. Students must be on the agenda to be admitted the meeting.
  • Students must create the link in Anchor Link before attending the designated meeting:
    • The organization must obtain the approval of the group’s faculty or staff advisor in Anchor Link prior to the meeting.
    • The organization must provide the center number of the sponsoring organization.

More information may be obtained from Reservations and Events at 100 Sarratt Student Center, or 615-32(2-2448). Office hours are 8am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday.

Student Travel

Vanderbilt registers and assumes responsibility only for those official overnight or out-of-town trips sponsored and directed by an administrative division of the University (e.g., the Spirit of Gold Marching Band). The University assumes no responsibility for events sponsored by groups such as sororities and fraternities. However, such organizations must–in advance of the trip–inform their advisers (the Greek advisers in the case of fraternities and sororities), and report information regarding out-of-town events to the Office of Reservations and Events.

Any student who wishes to travel on behalf of, or as a representative of, Vanderbilt University or any registered student organization must receive written authorization in advance from the appropriate dean. (See also the section entitled “Universal Waiver,” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations,” above.)

Requests for Exceptions

The responsibility for compliance with the foregoing regulations for social events lies with the sponsoring organization. Requests for exceptions should be made at the time of registration through the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee.

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Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising

These regulations apply to the sale or distribution of goods and services and the solicitation for, promotion of, and advertising of any item, program, charity, or service.
The following guidelines generally apply:

  • Sale and/or promotion are limited to activities permitted under municipal, state, and federal laws. Individuals and groups must conform to local licensing laws and University trademark and licensing policies. [http://www.vanderbilt.edu/licensing/] Authorized sales and/or promotions must not disrupt the normal operation of the University. Vendors, promoters, and advertisers may neither claim, indicate, or imply University support, and must avoid the appearance of University endorsement.
  • Tax-exempt property of the University may not be used as the place of business of on- or off-campus groups, business or individuals unaffiliated with the University. Facilities of the campus, including Rand Hall, Rand Terrace, Sarratt Student Center, The Student Life Center, The Commons Center, Vanderbilt Stadium, the Student Recreation Center, and Memorial Gymnasium, may not be used for the sale or promotion of activities that are not related to the University except by arrangement with the appropriate University office.
  • Sale of newspapers and newsletters must be authorized by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administration or the Vice Chancellor’s designee. Papers may be sold in vending machines on Rand Terrace and in specified, pre-approved residences.
  • Concession arrangements for athletic events and all events at Memorial Gymnasium are made with Student Athletics.
  • Arrangements for sale or solicitation at Rand Hall or Rand Terrace, by registered organizations or by University departments, are made with the Office of Reservations and Events. (See the paragraph, below, on sale and solicitation by student organizations.)
  • Businesses may not use a University post office box as a business address, nor may anyone use University space, voice network, or data network for business purposes not authorized by the University.
  • Businesses may distribute materials to campus mailboxes via postage-paid, US mail, only.
  • Campus student agents for businesses must register with the Dean of Students, or the Dean’s designee, and may solicit business through advertising in student publications under the purview of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc, information about which may be obtained at http://www.vandymedia.org/advertising/ .
  • Door-to-door solicitation or promotion in residences is strictly prohibited. Very rare exceptions to the policy require written authorization of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, for student door-to-door solicitation, promotion, or distribution of literature. Solicitation for insurance and the like may take place in residence halls only with the invitation of a resident student. Campus newspapers and other similar publications may be distributed in the lobbies of residence halls where containers to prevent littering are provided by the registered student organization.
  • Sale or solicitation by a registered student organization is permitted to the members of the group and/or to the campus community.
  • No approval is required for the operation of dining rooms by fraternities and sororities.
  • The sale of tickets for admission to concerts, performances, and the like requires no authorization. However, these activities may not be promoted off campus except when the activity also serves the similar interests of other academic institutions and, therefore, is promoted on other campuses as in the case of films, concerts, and lectures. The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must authorize any advertising or publicity to the general public.
  • Registered student organizations may engage in the occasional sale of items for fund raising when the funds are for the use of the organization in its regular activities (including philanthropic efforts) and are deposited into the organization’s University account. Organizations undertaking such sales must comply with University policies regarding the ordering of merchandise, sales tax collection and payment, and licensing. (See also the section on Event Management in Chapter 6, Alcohol.)
  • The location of the sale(s) must be approved by the Office of Reservations and Events.
  • The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may regulate times and places of delivery of items to residences, including foodstuffs such as cakes and pizzas, or gifts such as flowers.
  • The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must authorize the solicitation for donations by Vanderbilt student organizations, of off-campus agencies, groups, businesses, etc.
  • Student organizations are prohibited from hosting fundraising events in “limited service restaurants” (bars) as defined by Tennessee statutes.

Co-Sponsorships or Department Allocations

Some registered student organizations and their programs can be subsidized by grants or allocations from academic or administrative departments. If the program or organization derives from an academic discipline (e.g., the Chemistry Majors Association) or complements the academic experience, the corresponding academic department is the best place to solicit funding. Many administrative departments may also be willing to supplement programs or services. To solicit their financial support, it is best to schedule an appointment with a member of that department to discuss partnerships which benefit both the organization and the department. For more information on co-sponsorships, consult the Student Organization Manual, available online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentorganizations/students-organizations-manual .

Dues, Ticket Sales, and On-campus Fundraisers

Registered student organizations are entitled to charge dues to their membership. Dues must be deposited in an organization’s University account upon receipt. Registered groups may also charge admission to events, provided that the primary purpose of sales is to raise money for the benefit of the organization, or for the benefit of a charitable group, and not for the benefit of individual members of the organization. In accordance with Tennessee state law, students may not sell tickets for a raffle or lottery. Drawings for door prizes awarded to ticket-holding participants at an event are permitted.

No approval is required for the sale of tickets for admission, or for the sale of items for fund raising when the funds raised are solely for the organization or its charity and are deposited into the organization’s University account. Students must make arrangements with the Coordinator of Reservations and Events to reserve a table or room to sell tickets or items. Students must also secure the approval of the Director of Residence Life in order to sell or deliver items door-to-door in campus residences.

Some registered student organizations might choose to undertake auctions or silent auctions as an element of a fundraising event. In so doing, the sponsoring organization must ensure compliance with applicable statutes and University policy. Tobacco, alcohol, or promotional items for these products may not be used for auctions or any other fundraising activity. The Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee may prohibit other items at the Dean or designee’s discretion. Such items might include animals, gift cards or other items from adult entertainment establishments, etc.

Sales and promotional activities must be conducted by members of the registered student organization. No organization may sponsor the sale of goods or services to students on behalf of a non-Vanderbilt commercial enterprise, except where the sales activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as Orientation, Homecoming, or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.

For information regarding other on-campus sources of funding, consult the Student Organization Manual, available online at http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentorganizations/students-organizations-manual .

Off-Campus Fundraising

If an organization has exhausted sources of funding on campus, it may be possible to solicit funds from sources off campus. Funds can be obtained in several ways: through solicitation of parents and alumni, solicitation of area merchants and large corporations, and invitations for co-sponsorship or gifts in kind from businesses.

Guidelines for Soliciting Parents and Alumni

The Vanderbilt Fund office holds limited historical records of registered student organization membership, and may be able to provide a registered student organization with mailing data of the organization’s alumni. To obtain the mailing data (usually provided as a set of labels), a group may submit a request to Student Organizations and Governance to determine if there is a list of its organization’s alumni. If such a list exists, the registered student organization may obtain written approval from its adviser, and provide the approval letter and a copy of its solicitation letter to the office Student Organizations and Governance for review. If approved, the mailing data will be provided. The Vanderbilt Fund office requires a month’s notice to process requests, so student organizations should submit requests to Student Organizations and Governance at least six weeks in advance.

Registered student organizations may obtain authorization to solicit funds from the parents of its membership by submitting a proposal to Student Organizations and Governance. The proposal must include a statement of the purpose of the appeal, a sample of the solicitation mailing, and the proposed date of the appeal. Student Organizations and Governance will forward the proposal to the Vanderbilt Fund office for review.

Guidelines for Solicitation of Area Merchants and Corporate Sponsors

Area merchants and corporations can contribute to registered student organization endeavors in two ways: by a simple donation of money, items, or merchandise, or by a donation of money, items or merchandise in return for some recognition, an arrangement sometimes known as co-sponsorship.

  1. An organization that plans to solicit an area merchant or corporation for a simple donation or gift with a value of less than $1000 must apply to Student Organizations and Governance in writing for authorization. If authorization is granted, the organization is limited to soliciting those merchants whose names appear on a list provided by the Vanderbilt Fund office, and must instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Records.
  2. An organization that plans to solicit an area merchant or corporation for a simple donation or gift with a value greater than $1000 must request authorization from Student Organizations and Governance. If authorization is granted by the Vanderbilt Fund office, the organization must instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Records.
  3. Before an organization invites an area merchant or corporation to “co-sponsor” an event by contributing any amount, it must secure authorization from Student Organizations and Governance. Generally, student groups may acknowledge the assistance or contribution of co-sponsoring merchants or corporations in programs, banners, displays, or event memorabilia (party favors, T-shirts, caps, etc.), and the event Website. Sponsorship is the passive listing of the name or logo of a sponsor tastefully displayed on a T-shirt, banner, or event Website, or listed among sponsors in a program. (It is not intended to solicit business. It simply acknowledges the support of the team, the event, etc. The Office of the Dean of Students does not endorse advertisements for off-campus businesses, such advertisements being those that are designed to bring more business to the off-campus concern.) Student groups may not permit co-sponsoring merchants or corporations to conduct sales or sales promotion, or distribute free samples in conjunction with any student organization program or event, unless the sales promotion activity provides a value-added service during a traditional Vanderbilt event, such as orientation, Homecoming, or Rites of Spring. Exceptions to this policy must be approved in advance by the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Co-sponsorships by alcoholic beverage or tobacco brands or distributors are prohibited.

As is the case with student organization and departmental co-sponsors, groups are strongly advised to develop a written co-sponsorship agreement with external co-sponsors. Written agreements should list time and date of program, the agreed-upon responsibilities of all co-sponsoring parties, and the required signatures of all co-sponsoring parties. Sample agreements can be obtained from Student Organizations and Governance once co-sponsorship plans are approved. The sponsoring organization must instruct co-sponsoring agencies to send contributions to Gift Records.

Grants and Foundations

Many private and corporate foundations and federal agencies have funds or grants available for organizations seeking funding for educational or service programs. Grant writing requires a great deal of research, but can yield positive results. The Office of Sponsored Research 615-32(2-2631) is a good resource for additional information.

Soliciting for Charity

Registered student organizations, including fraternities and sororities, may solicit the student body for charitable purposes. The following guidelines apply:

  • Solicitation must be registered and approved by Student Organizations and Governance.
  • Up to fifteen percent of the gross funds collected may be used to recover costs incurred in the solicitation; the rest must be turned over to the recognized charitable organization.
  • Donations to reimburse expenses incurred by the student organization over the fifteen percent may be solicited independently if the purpose of this solicitation is clearly stated.
  • Financial reports of expenses, income, donations, sales, and disbursements must be made available to Student Organizations and Governance, and the appropriate student governing body.
  • The collection of entry fees for events such as fun runs and walks is allowable, but entry fees, and cash awards for, events that involve an element of chance such as a raffle, a card tournament, a “rubber duck drop,” or a casino night, are prohibited by both University policy and government statutes.
  • Organizations may solicit using Vanderbilt in their names if they comply with these policies.

Students should be aware that although policy does not prohibit them from sending charitable solicitations to faculty and staff, persons on the University payroll may run afoul of University policy should they forward those solicitations to their colleagues.

Violations of these policies will subject the organization and the officers of the organization to disciplinary action by the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and the student governing bodies with jurisdiction. The organization may also lose its registration. Organizations failing to distribute at least 85 percent to the charity may be required to make up the difference from other organization funds.

Requests for exceptions to these guidelines should be made in writing to the Office of the Dean of Students at least two weeks before the solicitation.

Student Organizations and Governance has responsibility for enforcing these policies and prescribing the conduct of those who participate in charitable solicitation. It is the responsibility of the individual student or organization doing the solicitation to comply with these policies and the prescribed conduct. Student organizations soliciting for charitable purposes will be required to comply with state and local laws regulating charitable solicitations.

Vanderbilt University Charitable Giving Policy

As a not-for-profit educational institution, Vanderbilt University seeks and receives the support of the community through its delivery of health care, its athletic programs, its participation in the commercial real estate market, and its status as a corporate citizen, as well as in other ways.

Nashville has a strong tradition of charitable fundraising and a tradition of generous participation in charitable dinners by the corporate community. Although Vanderbilt University raises funds in the Nashville community for its own academic and research programs, it actively participates in this tradition both through in-kind contributions to community services, particularly in those areas that are related to Vanderbilt’s mission, such as education, and on occasion, through financial contributions to fundraising events.

Charitable donations in lieu of sending flowers in memory of the bereaved may be made by the University if the donation does not exceed fifty dollars ($50.00).

All contributions will be made in the name of Vanderbilt University and Medical Center.

Soliciting for Religious Activities

The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life coordinates religious activities. Student religious groups, after being registered by Student Organizations and Governance, will be assisted by the Office of the Religious Life in fulfilling their aims insofar as these are consistent with other University policies.

Campus religious groups must be registered, and registered religious groups must have faculty advisers. Representatives of off-campus organizations may be invited onto the campus for specific purposes, but these representatives may not interfere with the self-determination of campus groups. Representatives of religious organizations may visit rooms in campus residences only with the prior invitation of the resident students of those rooms.

Off-campus representatives of religious organizations may meet with groups on campus and assist them in fulfilling their aims (when these are consistent with procedures established in this section of the Student Handbook), only after securing the written authorization of the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life. This authorization may include a letter of introduction to the University provided by the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life and will specify procedures to be followed. The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life will assist in providing meeting places.

Solicitation for religious purposes by on- or off-campus groups or individuals is governed by the same regulations stated in the sections “Publicity, Promotion and Advertising” and “Student Organization Fundraising.”  Specifically, persons are strongly discouraged from approaching individuals whom they do not know in order to recruit them for religious reasons. Note that employees may not engage in religious solicitation in their job settings. Visits to residences by individuals from off campus are to be at the invitation of a particular student, for a particular time, in that student’s room, only, and with the permission of that student’s roommates, if any.  For example, persons who are invited to visit in a resident’s room may not recruit on the hall among other students.  This policy also prohibits the use of any common spaces in dormitories or campus buildings for recruitment, training, prayer groups, or any other activities unless the group is a registered student organization.

Vanderbilt does not infringe on any individual’s religious freedom. Indeed, the University encourages the free flow of religious ideas as well as lively debate among persons from various religious persuasions.  However, Vanderbilt will endeavor to protect students and others in the University community from unauthorized solicitation.

For further information concerning religious solicitation, students may consult the Office of Religious Life (http://www.vanderbilt.edu/religiouslife).

Soliciting for Employment

Students may note that employment representatives (including current students who may be employed with an organization) who wish to recruit students for any type of job must register with the Vanderbilt Center for Student Professional Development, 220 Student Life Center, 615-32(2-2750). Arrangements must be cleared in advance and specific procedures must be followed.

Organizations recruiting anywhere on campus must obtain permission from the Center. Recruiting includes the posting of bulletin board notices for jobs, hosting employment-related meetings, or distributing materials on campus. All approved notices must clearly state the organization, product or service involved, and a job description. Notices may not be posted on automobiles, distributed in campus residences, or posted on any other unauthorized space on campus.

Employers who wish to post positions electronically for internships or full-time permanent employment should forward notices to the Center by email at recruiting@vanderbilt.edu.  To post part-time jobs or student employment jobs electronically, employers should call Student Employment in the Financial Aid Office at 615-32(2-3591) or visit http://www.vanderbilt.edu/studentemployment/.   Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in the prohibition of future recruiting activities by the offending organization.

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Sound Amplification and Noise

Functions or special events which require electronic sound amplification (for musical instruments, stereos, vocal performances, or public address) must be registered with the Special Events Registration Committee and approved by the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Electronic amplification may not be used in the vicinity of classroom buildings, the library, the hospital, or apartments for family housing. Use of outside amplification at any event or function held in close proximity to campus residences must involve consultation with the Office of Housing and Residential Education.

Sound amplifiers may not be positioned without authorization in such a way as to provide outside amplification (e.g., inside buildings or on porches).

Due to the capacity of certain automotive speaker systems to disturb the quiet of the campus, use of these systems at sufficient volume to be heard outside of the vehicle is prohibited.

Authorization for late evening concerts or events to be held outside and where campus-wide attendance is expected may be granted for Friday and Saturday nights, with the hours set at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee. Individual groups having parties primarily for the benefit of the group may be granted authorization for afternoon or twilight concerts or events, as appropriate. Outdoor amplification equipment may be used with activities such as late afternoon or early evening pep rallies, speak-out programs on Rand Terrace, twilight concerts, and carnivals, etc., so long as they do not interfere with scheduled academic or administrative activities.

Moderate sound amplification for informal listening on decks and patios of Greek chapter houses and campus residences is permitted from 4pm to 8pm on Fridays, and noon to 8pm on Saturdays. The Dean of Students or the dean’s designee may issue additional guidelines for activities routinely permitted without specific authorization, such as weekend music playing on Greek row. These guidelines may be revised upon the recommendation of the Interfraternity, National Pan-Hellenic, or Panhellenic Councils, or other student representative groups, or upon the initiation of the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee.

Sound amplification-whether specifically authorized or informal, inside or outside-may be monitored by University officials, student representative groups, or IFC or Panhellenic representatives. Monitoring may include on-site inspections and the use of a decibel meter.

Local laws prohibit the use of amplification outdoors between the hours of 11pm and 7am if a facility is within fifty feet of a residence except when exempted for a special event or gathering and if a permit is issued by the Metropolitan Nashville Government.  At all times, consideration should be given to the neighboring communities as stated in the “Good Neighbor Guidelines.”

Amplification which violates University policy or local ordinances may be discontinued at the discretion of the Dean of Students or the dean’s designee, or a representative of the Dean of Students (including officers with the University Police Department, or directors in the Office of Housing and Residential Education).

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