Skip to main content

Chapter 5: Student Engagement

Coaches and Consultants for Registered Student Organizations / Communication and Promotion / Freedom of Expression / Funding (See also “Sale, Solicitation, and Fundraising.”) / Governance, Student / Organization Space and Mailboxes, Student / Reservations and Event Registration / Student Domestic, Co-Curricular TravelSale, Solicitation, and Fundraising / Sound Amplification and Noise 

NOTE: During the 2021-2022 academic year, the University will be establishing and operating under guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19, which may change over time in light of the evolving nature of the pandemic. These guidelines and protocols will be communicated to students through other mechanisms and not through the Student Handbook. Students are expected to abide by any and all University guidelines and protocols to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In some circumstances, these guidelines and protocols may supersede provisions in the Student Handbook.  

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.

Coaches and Consultants for Registered Student Organizations

Registered student organizations are required to have and will be assigned coaches who are employed by Vanderbilt University. Coaches provide holistic development for student organization members through experiential learning opportunities, advocate for the mission and vision of the organization, and counsel officers and members regarding their responsibilities. Coaches will help student leaders manage the programmatic, financial, and logistical operations of their student organization. To ensure they are able to properly support student organizations, coaches are required to attend training on, among other things, Vanderbilt’s financial system, policies and procedures (including Protection of Minors), travel, reimbursement, the re-registration process, goal setting, and facilitation of meetings with student leaders and student organization members. The coach is expected to be aware of the financial status of the organization to help ensure that the organization remains solvent. Coaches do not have the authority to prohibit the expression of editorial opinion by a campus publication. A more detailed listing of guidelines and requirements may be found on the Student Organizations website.

Student organizations may also have a consultant who is a Vanderbilt University faculty member. This role will be primarily a “content expert,” focusing on supporting students as they develop programming and meaningful experiences around the mission and purpose of the organization. Consultants are not required to attend additional trainings and there are no set expectations for their level of engagement with the organization.

Back to Top ]

Communication and Promotion

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

Notices, printed announcements, posters, flyers, banners, digital signage, emails, newsletters, etc. (hereinafter “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 in authorized locations by registered student organizations, University departments, or individuals. Notices must carry the name of the responsible registered student organization, University department, or individual(s). If the group responsible for the notices is not a registered student organization, the individual student names responsible for the information must also be provided.

The unauthorized use or imitation of the official Vanderbilt stationery, logos, or marks, on notices is prohibited. Additionally, 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 notices for events that have been registered B.Y.O.B. during the event registration process.

Commercial advertising matter and notices unrelated to the University, including those physically placed on campus or sent electronically or other means by third party businesses or individual students, faculty and staff, are prohibited. Advertising for commercial or personal matters can be done in campus publications. Vanderbilt community members who advertise services to students (e.g., typing or sale of books) may post small notices on bulletin boards.

Electronic Communication

Individuals students and student groups utilizing University computer and data networks to distribute notices or information, including newsletters, are expected to abide by the Student Computing Policy, the Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy , and other applicable University policies. Students utilizing the email system to distribute information should identify themselves in the communication and may not use the email system to harass others by threats, obscenities, or repeated unwanted emails. Mass or bulks emails are prohibited without authorization from the Dean of Students or Dean’s designee, unless the email is being sent using an “opt-in” listserv.

Notices Posted Physically On-Campus

The following stipulations apply to notices posted physically on campus:

  • Notices may be attached to kiosks or bulletin boards with thumbtacks, but they may not be nailed, stapled or taped anywhere.
  • Posters and flyers may be tied to tree trunks with string but the use of nails, tacks, tape, or staples on trees is prohibited. Banners may not be hung from trees, or between trees, or from or between other objects such as lamposts. 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.
  • Use of sidewalk stickers is prohibited, except if such use is approved by the Facilities Review Committee, which must review and approve the proposed content, locations, and posting dates of any sidewalk stickers.
  • 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.
  • The use of self-adhesive labels or stickers on surfaces other than banners, posters, or flyers, is prohibited.
  • 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. Registered student organizations desiring to use such signs must obtain authorization from Student Centers and the Director of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, 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.
  • 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 first floor of Sarratt Student Center.
  • The University may remove notices that remain three days after the date of an event, and may charge the person or organization responsible for them.
  • If an organization continually violates these policies, it may lose the privilege of posting notices or have its registration withdrawn. Individuals and organizations may also be charged for repair or cleaning of damaged surfaces.

Only student organizations and University departments may post within the Student Centers, which includes the Commons Center, Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall, Kissam Center, and Student Life Center. 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 Hall. Each organization is limited a single poster or flyer, regardless of size, on each board. Permission to display banners in the Student Centers must be obtained from building management at the reception desks of these facilities, and is issued only rarely, if at all. Student organization use of the banner display devices on the east side of Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall requires no prior authorization. For more information about posting notices in Student Centers, including how to obtain authorization and size limitations, please refer to Advertising in Student Centers section of the Student Center Policies.

The following stipulations apply to posting notices in other campus locations:

  • Academic Buildings- The kiosk at Stevenson Center may be used for poster display. Bulletin boards in classroom buildings, however, are reserved for announcements concerning academic programs.
  • Residence Halls- Permission to display banners or paint designated windows in any residence hall must be obtained from the appropriate Area Coordinator for Housing and Residential Experience. Please see the Solicitation in Residential Units section of the General Residence Life Policies for more information.
  • Dining Centers- Permission to hang posters or paint designated windows in the dining spaces of Rand Hall or any other dining facility must be obtained from the Director of Vanderbilt Campus Dining.
  • Greek Facilities - Greek chapters with houses may hang banners from their own facilities. Student organizations seeking to hang banners from Greek houses must secure the authorization of the chapter.
  • Automobiles- Notices may not be posted on automobiles.

For more information about distributing notices on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another organization, please refer to the Freedom of Expression section of this chapter.

[ Back to Top ]

Freedom of Expression

As an institution of higher learning dedicated to research, teaching, and service, Vanderbilt is firmly committed to academic freedom and freedom of expression and will maintain the conditions of freedom of inquiry, thought, and discussion on campus. The education of Vanderbilt students is guided by the University’s commitment to the principles of academic integrity, open communication and inquiry, nondiscrimination, and civility. Students are considered as partners in this endeavor and, while in a diverse community the views and ideas of its members will inevitably conflict at times, Vanderbilt expects all members of the community to be respectful of each other and to contribute in positive ways to an orderly and civil exchange of diverse ideas and opinions. Vanderbilt seeks to foster a sense of belonging for all students where they can feel welcome and as safe as possible in an environment dedicated to the critical discussion of complex and challenging ideas. Freedom of expression extends to all members of the Vanderbilt community, even when that expression directly challenges the beliefs and ideas of another and even when that expression may be deemed disagreeable or possibly even offensive.  When an individual or group deems the ideas of others to be contrary to their own, the response should be to engage in discussion, debate, and mutually respectful dialogue. A core part of the University’s mission is to provide opportunities for intellectual exchanges to take place.

To foster such an environment, the following guidelines have been set.

  • Meetings open only to members. A registered student organization may invite any person to address its members, but the organization must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with Student Centers and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
  • Meetings open to the Vanderbilt community. A registered student 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. The organization must follow normal procedures for reservation of space with Student Centers and demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
  • Meetings open to the public. For open meetings sponsored by a registered student organization, procedures for reserving space through Student Centers must be followed and the organization must demonstrate its ability to pay for associated costs.
  • Procedures for all types of meetings described above include registering in advance with Student Centers so as to ensure the adequacy of arrangements, minimize schedule conflicts, reserve space, and demonstrate ability to pay for costs incurred.
  • Limitations on meetings. The University may restrict the times and places of registered student organization meetings on University premises. A registered student 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. External groups may cooperate with a registered student organization in a campus event, but the campus organization remains fully responsible for the conduct of the external group, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee must pre-approve the arrangement. Student organizations fronting for external groups is prohibited. External groups or individuals wishing to use University facilities independently must conform to University policies and must request access through Student Centers.
  • Distribution of printed information or use of electronic media. Students or student groups who distribute information, whether physically or electronically, are responsible for the content. Students may distribute physical materials, including flyers, leaflets, informational sheets, or similar materials, on Rand Terrace or outside the building in which a meeting has been scheduled by another group or organization, if the distributors position themselves twenty feet from the entrance 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 to avoid restricting access. There may be no charge or requested donations for these materials. Students may also distribute information using electronic media in compliance with the University’s Student Computing Policy and the Computing Privileges and Responsibilities Acceptable Use Policy. Students distributing information, whether physically or using electronic media, must also comply with the policies found in the “Communication and Promotion” section, by including the name and contact information of the distributing individual or group on each piece of printed or electronic material. If the group is not a registered student organization, the names of the individual students responsible for the information must also be provided. 
  • Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests
    • Definitions
      • Demonstrations. Demonstrations are independent from any other event or activity occurring on campus. A Demonstration is different from a Protest in that the time, date, and location are not connected to a campus speaker, event, or activity, nor does it need to be for it to accomplish its goal. 
      • Dissents. Dissents are short and spontaneous non-violent verbal or non-verbal reactions to a speaker.
      • Protests. Protests are responses to or intentionally take place during other events or activities occurring on campus. A Protest is different from a Demonstration in that the time, date, and location are connected to a campus speaker, event, or activity, and does so in order to accomplish its goal.
      • Organizer. An Organizer is one who is either primarily responsible for planning, funding, or executing a Demonstration or Protest or is so associated with the Demonstration or Protest that a reasonable person would infer that responsibility.
    • Introduction
      • Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests are a necessary and valued form of expression. Individuals and organizations seeking to organize a Demonstration or Protest should contact the Office of the Dean of Students to assist with planning. The office will advise Organizers on execution of the activity with the goal that it occur as envisioned with minimal complications. All University policies apply during Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests. Organizers as well as those participating—including, but not limited to, faculty, staff, students, and the public—are responsible for knowing and abiding by University policies as well as local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
    • Planning
      • When possible, a request to hold a Demonstration or Protest should be submitted to the Office of the Dean of Students at least 48 hours prior to the planned activity to ensure its successful execution. The submission should include the time, date, and location. The University may require Organizers to move the time, date, and location if it is determined the Demonstration or Protest, as planned, would be disruptive to campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.
      • For Demonstrations and Protests occurring on campus, only registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space. Students not affiliated with a registered student organization, administrative office, or academic departments may only use campus space on a first-come basis and at the discretion of the University. The Office of the Dean of Students can reserve space for such students who have properly engaged in the planning process. The public, including parents and alumni, may not participate in or be invited to an on-campus Demonstration or Protest, except when permitted via the Special Events Registration process outlined in this section of the Student Handbook.
      • For Demonstrations and Protests occurring off campus on city sidewalks and streets adjacent to the University, Organizers should make appropriate arrangements to acquire city permits and should adhere to city ordinances and applicable local, state and federal law. The public may participate in off-campus Demonstrations and Protests.
    • Impromptu and Spontaneous Activism
      • On occasion, Demonstrations and Protests cannot reasonably meet the advance planning requirement. In such cases, Organizers are strongly encouraged to seek an expedited review of plans by the Office of the Dean of Students.
      • If Demonstrations or Protests occur without an expedited review, the University may discuss with Organizers whether relocation to another space on campus is appropriate prior to denying a request or terminating the Activism.
      • Dissent, by its nature, is impromptu or spontaneous. Dissent may occur without any prior University review, but the University retains the right to terminate such activity should it convert to Protest or Demonstration or otherwise be disruptive to campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringe on the rights of other members of the University community.
    • Implementation 
      • Demonstrations
        • During Demonstrations, Organizers and participants may engage in audible and symbolic acts (e.g., giving speeches, chanting, marching, holding signs, or similarly raising awareness of a national, local, or campus issue).
        • Amplified sound should only be used outside of campus buildings and must comply with all applicable noise policies and ordinances. In campus buildings, demonstrations should comply with maximum occupancy for fire safety.
      • Protests & Dissents
        • During Protests, Organizers and participants may engage in silent and symbolic acts (e.g., picketing, holding signs, turning backs, covering ears, or similarly raising awareness of a national, local, or campus issue).  Dissents are also an appropriate form of protest.
        • Both Protests and Dissents should respect the rights of others wishing to engage in the University activity or event that is the focus of Activism. Others should be allowed free and safe access to the meeting or activity, unobstructed and undisrupted viewing, the ability to hear and view a speaker undisrupted, as well as the ability to otherwise reasonably participate.
      • Distribution of Literature
        • Refer to the Distribution of printed information or use of electronic media policy in this section of the Student Handbook.
      • University Officials
        • The University may, at its discretion, have individuals from the Office of the Dean of Students, Vanderbilt University Public Safety, or other University departments present at Protests, Demonstrations, and other events to observe and advise. Organizers and participants are expected to comply with instructions of University officials.
      • Relocation or Termination 
        • The University will work with Organizers and participants to relocate Demonstrations and Protests that may or terminate Demonstrations and Protests that do disrupt campus operations, impede the free flow of vehicular or pedestrian traffic, violate University policies, or significantly infringes on the rights of other members of the University community.
        • Demonstrations and Protests are not permitted to occur in the following locations:
          • Private offices, research laboratories or associated facilities, and computer centers;
          • Specific areas of offices, museums, libraries, and other facilities that contain valuable or sensitive materials, collections, equipment, and records protected by law, or by existing University policy, such as educational records, student-related or personnel-related records, or financial records;
          • Classrooms, art and music practice rooms, seminar rooms, auditoriums, meeting rooms, or outdoor spaces in which University academic courses are being held or are scheduled to be held;
          • Residential areas during quiet hours; and
          • Student Health Center, University Counseling Center, Office of Student Care Coordination, Center for Student Wellbeing, Project Safe, Title IX office, Vanderbilt University Police Department headquarters, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, other administrative offices in which student privacy is paramount, critical infrastructure (such as the Power House), as well as the surrounding green space or grounds (including, but not limited to, sidewalks, access roads, parking areas, etc.), and any other space that obstructs entry or access to Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
      • Disorderly Conduct
        • Riots or other destructive gatherings are never permitted.  Use of masks (other than those required for health-related reasons) or costumes that obscure participants’ identity, brandishing of weapons or items that could reasonably be believed to be weapons, words and actions that may incite violence, physical altercations, and any other act a reasonable person would believe is designed to intimidate or threaten others is prohibited.
        • Conduct that obstructs or disrupts teaching, administration, University procedures and activities, or other authorized activities on University premises is prohibited.
        • Conduct that impedes University events and activities—including, but not limited to, excessive noise, continually interrupting a speaker, preventing an audience from seeing/engaging with a speaker or participating in an activity, disrupting the viewing of a presentation or speaker, blocking entrances or exits, or impeding free movement—is prohibited.
        • Disorderly conduct, as outlined above, may subject an Organizer or participant to removal from the event, referral for disciplinary action through the University’s accountability process, or other legal action available to the University. While the campus is generally open to the public, the University may cite with trespassing individuals engaging in prohibited conduct during Demonstrations, Dissents, and Protests.
    • Debrief
      • Organizers are encouraged to meet with the Office of the Dean of Students after a Demonstration or Protest has occurred to review successes and challenges for future planning.
  • Registered student organizations may also order films to show on campus. The motion picture titles shown on the Vanderbilt campus must be 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. Student Centers, 615-322-2448, can provide additional information. Information about the sale of printed statements, etc., and the display of posters can be found in the sections “Sale and Solicitation and Fundraising” and “Communication and Promotion.”

Back to Top ]

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

Students enrolled in Vanderbilt University pay a Student Services Fee. On an annual basis, the Student Services Fee Committee of Vanderbilt Student Government (VSG) recommends to the Dean of Students allocations of this fee for registered student organizations that sponsor programs, projects, and services that benefit the students who have paid the fee. Applications for a regular allocation for funding in the subsequent academic year are available—and due—according to the schedule announced annually by the Student Services Fee Committee. 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. In order to maintain events at a reduced rate for students, student organizations that receive Student Services Fee funding may charge no more than $5 for event attendance, with the exception of Rites of Spring, Commodore Quake, and Lights on the Lawn. In addition, up to 10% and no more than $1,000 of a student organization's Student Services Fee allocation may be used for purposes internal to the organization, such as retreats, t-shirts, or other similar items. Exceptions to these restrictions may be made with approval from the Dean of Students or the Dean's designee.

Due to the nature of the Student Services Fee's purpose, only registered student organizations and their respective programs are eligible for Student Services Fee allocations. Student organizations are encouraged to spend their fully allocated amount consistent with how they indicated they would use their funds in their application. Allocated Student Services Fee funds will be adjusted at the end of the academic year to fund all expenses up to the full amount allocated to the student organization at the beginning of the year. Funds that are not spent will be reallocated to other student priorities and will not roll over to the following year. Revenue above the Student Services Fee allocated amount will remain in the student organization’s account, including fundraising, donations, ticket sales and any other external revenue. Further, funds allocated through the Student Services Fee Committee's recommendation process are subject to some restrictions on their use. More information on student organization eligibility and programming restrictions for Student Services Fee allocations may be found on the Student Organizations website.

See also “Fee, Student Services” in Chapter 1, “Policies and Regulations.”

[ Back to Top ]

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.

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

Divinity School Student Government Association. 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 Student Government Association (OSGA). 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 OSGA activities. OSGA 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, Intercultural Greek, and Interfraternity Councils. The Panhellenic Council, the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC), 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 programs promoting student involvement and interaction with faculty. Student interests are addressed through the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the organization. The Senate comprises elected students representing the four undergraduate schools and the 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.

Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC)

Student produced media for general distribution to the University community or to persons outside the membership of a student organization and publications funded directly by the Student Services Fee are under the exclusive authority of Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated.

Vanderbilt Student Communications, Incorporated (VSC), is a nonprofit corporation, affiliated with the University, which publishes and/or supervises The Vanderbilt Hustler, the online campus newspaper; the Commodore yearbook; The Vanderbilt Review, a literary/arts magazine; The Slant, a humor and satire publication; The Vanderbilt Political Review, a nonpartisan journal; WRVU, a student radio streaming station; Vandy Radio, a campus community radio streaming station; Synesis, a Christian perspectives journal; Vanderbilt Recording Studio, a student-run recording studio;, news and features about The Commons;, student-produced media about life at VU; Student Media Marketing Group; Student Media Artists’ Collaborative; Vanderbilt Business Review, a student-produced business journal; Vanderbilt Video Productions, which provides students the opportunity to create and showcase visual media; and VandyFlix, a showcase of tv shows, videos, films, documentaries, and interesting visual content created by Vanderbilt students. 



To be eligible for membership in any registered student organization, or to act as a representative of Vanderbilt in any public exercise, an individual must be an enrolled student of the University. A student on academic or disciplinary probation or who fails to maintain a cumulative 2.0 grade point average may not hold a leadership position, including (but not limited to) Admissions Tour Guide, VUceptor, Resident Adviser, or president (or comparable position) of a registered student organization or Vanderbilt Student Communications division.  

Registered student organizations, governing bodies, or University departments may set eligibility standards or requirements for membership or leadership that exceed these minimum standards, as long as such eligibility standards comply with the University’s nondiscrimination policy. Additionally, registered student organizations may take action to remove or restrict a member’s participation in the organization in accordance with the organization’s constitution or bylaws.  

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

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


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

The Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service registers undergraduate and graduate/professional student organizations within the Vanderbilt community. Club sports must have approval from the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center. Religious groups must have approval from the University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life. Greek-letter social organizations requires membership in one of the four Greek-letter governing bodies.

Student organizations must reapply for registration annually based on the schedule published by the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, Leadership and Service. Registration expires after the third week of the semester 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 the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service via Anchor Link.

The registration process requires the submission of a constitution or bylaws, which include a statement of purpose, criteria for membership, rules of procedure, and names and contact information for officers and coaches. During the registration process, the organization must affirm that it does not discriminate unlawfully or in violation of University policy.  This language can be found on the coach affirmation form within the registration form. (See Chapter 8, "Student Discrimination.") 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 the Equal Opportunity and Access Office.

Detailed information regarding organization registration may be found on the Student Organizations, Leadership and Service website.

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 enrolled Vanderbilt students,
  • have at least one full-time, permanent, Vanderbilt faculty or staff member as its coach,
  • maintain all funds on deposit in an account of good standing through Finance and follow appropriate accounting procedures (Special conditions apply to fraternities, sororities, and Vanderbilt Student Communications divisions.),
  • 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 (Student Services Fee allocation, and other sources when available).
  • to use University facilities for conducting regular business (as in the case of campus publications),
  • to use University meeting rooms and facilities at no charge or at a reduced rate,
  • to use University electronic resources (e.g., Anchor Link, listservs, University-hosted website), and to subscribe to the student leader listservs maintained by the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service,
  • to use common space allocated for registered student organizations,
  • to use 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, an organizational mailbox, and campus mail services,
  • to participate in the annual Student Organizations Fair,
  • 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 on Anchor Link and in the University Events Calendar,
  • to use campus bulletin boards and kiosks to promote the organization's activities, and
  • 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.

If a student organization’s account has no activity for a period of two fiscal years, all Student Services Fee funds in that account will be transferred out so that the account balance is zero. Such funds will be repurposed to support other student priorities. 

Fraternities and Sororities

Fraternities and sororities must register annually with the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service. The Greek Life coaches assist with both registration and coordination of their activities. The Greek Life coaches 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 the Greek Life website. Fraternities and sororities must be members of the Interfraternity, Panhellenic, Intercultural Greek, or National Pan-Hellenic Councils, which have governing responsibilities and accountability authority over their member groups. Corrective actions may be taken for fraternities and sororities by the Interfraternity Council (IFC), the Panhellenic Council, the Intercultural Greek Council (IGC), and the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) for violations of fraternity, sorority, or University policies. Violations of University policies may also fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity.


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

The IFC, Panhellenic Council, IGC, 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 and IGC 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 upper division 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, Intercultural Greek, or Panhellenic Councils. If approved by the appropriate council, the proposal will be forwarded to the Office of Greek Life for consideration. Upon the recommendations of the councils, the Office of Greek Life, and the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, the University may invite a national organization to start a new fraternity or sorority.

Back to Top ]

Organization Space and Mailboxes, Student

Registered student organizations are able to reserve through the Office of Student Centers a variety of meeting and event spaces in numerous buildings across campus, allowing them the opportunity to conduct business and interact with other 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, Leadership and Service.

[ Back to Top ]

Reservations and Event Registration

Reservation Policies

Student organizations are required to register all co-curricular programs and special events (meetings, concerts, lectures, etc.) that require a space reservation through EMS or at the Student Centers office, located in Rand Hall room 307, 615-322-2448.

Registered student organizations, administrative offices, or academic departments may reserve space on campus.

  • University-wide events, such as Commencement, Homecoming/Reunion, CommonVU, and Family Weekend have priority over other events. Those reserving space must consult the University events calendar and the calendar in Anchor Link prior to making a space reservation request to avoid conflicts with University-wide events.
  • Event planners 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 Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life website.
  • Generally, meetings and events scheduled on weeknights (Sunday through Thursday), must end at 11pm so as not to interfere with students’ sleep or study.
  • Serving as a front for off-campus organizations or groups is strictly prohibited.
  • Authorization must be obtained through the Special Event Registration Process (see below), to hold a social event or other gathering to which persons other than Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and affiliates are invited.
  • Vanderbilt University reserves the absolute right to refuse any request for the use of University space or facilities that—in the University’s sole discretion—is either inconsistent with the mission of the University, or which may present potential or actual adverse logistic or administrative conditions including, but not limited to, any safety or security concerns.
  • The right of refusal for the use of University space or facilities includes the cancellation of a confirmed event due to any potential or actual safety or security concern for the University community. 

Using space on campus without reservation, other than for informal study, is prohibited.

The Student Centers website provides a more detailed list of reservation policies, and a link to the online reservations tool. Reservations can be made online, via email at, via phone at 615-322-2448, or by visiting the office in Rand Hall Suite 307.

Special Event Registration

The special event registration process is designed to support a variety of events that have special needs. The Special Event Registration Committee comprises representatives from Student Centers, Traffic and Parking, Vanderbilt University Police Department, Plant Operations, the Center for Student Wellbeing, Risk Management, the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee, and staff who oversee compliance with the Protection of Minors policy.

The special event registration process is managed online in Anchor Link. Occasionally, event organizers may be required to meet with the committee should clarification be needed on one or more arrangements for the event.

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

  • Outdoor events, including but not limited to:
  • Events requesting amplified sound (with the exception of Greek events held within Greek facilities)
  • Events that require Plant Operations assistance (tables, chairs, trash cans, tents, power, etc.)
  • Events that require Traffic and Parking assistance (road closures, clearing lots, etc.)
  • Art exhibits
  • Runs/walks
  • Events at which alcohol will be present (see additional event management policies in Chapter 6, "Alcohol and Other Drugs")
  • Events that may require security
  • Events that are considered high risk based upon the size of the event, the type of activity involved, the even date/time of day, etc.
  • Events open to the general public
  • Events that require contracts for talent (speakers, musical performances, etc.). Note that student organizations may not sign contracts for liability reasons. All contracts must be signed by the Dean of Students.
  • Events that include showing a film on campus
  • Note that public performance rights must be obtained prior to showing a film on campus.
  • Student Centers can assist both with ordering films and with securing public performance rights.
  • Events that include minors
  • Note that Vanderbilt students under the age of 18 are not considered minors for the purpose of event registration.
  • Events that include minors must be registered and approved in Anchor Link at least two (2) weeks prior to the date of the event to ensure that compliance obligations, if any, associated with the Protection of Minors Policy are met.
  • Student organizations hosting events with minors that require a third party compliance agreement under the protection of minors policy must upload the agreement during the event registration process in Anchor Link.  Student organizations hosting events with minors that require parent permission forms with emergency contact information under the Protection of Minors policy must bring the forms to the Special Events Registration Committee meeting.
  • Events that include minors must track attendance of Vanderbilt students, faculty, staff, and affiliates through the Anchor Link attendance tracking process.
  • Note that events that fall under the Protection of Minors policy are subject to a compliance audit.

Registering a special event requires completion of the following steps:

  • A new event must be created in Anchor Link in the appropriated organization’s Anchor Link site.
  • Details about the event must be provided during the new event creation process.
  • A meeting with the Special Events Registration will be arranged, if necessary.
  • Changes in plans, if any, must be made in the Anchor Link event should they occur after the original registration process has been completed, and appropriate offices—including Student Centers—notified.

Requests for Exceptions

The responsibility for compliance with the foregoing regulations for 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 who will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an exception is appropriate.

Back to Top ]

Student Domestic, Co-Curricular 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 travel for which the University has no oversight, such as sorority and fraternity destination formals, or affiliated ministry service trips. However, such organizations and ministries undertaking such travel must—in advance of the trip—inform their coaches, and are encouraged to provide emergency contact information and a roster of student travelers to the Vanderbilt University Police Department and the Office of Housing and Residential Experience.

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.”)

Provisions of the Student International Travel policy apply to students traveling abroad in University programs, including those of a co-curricular nature, or on University business.

Domestic student travel for academic programs is overseen by academic departments and schools. Travel for students participating in varsity athletic events is overseen by the athletics administration. Travel for students participating in Outdoor Recreation programs or Sports Clubs is overseen by the David Williams II Recreation and Wellness Center.

Students traveling domestically for other co-curricular engagements must comply with the policies and procedures set forth, below. Travel proposals and plans are subject to review by the Dean of Students and/or the Dean’s designee.

Generally, students traveling for co-curricular programs are required to complete Student Travel Forms [60-002-658 (9/11)], and the accompanying Release of Liability form, although there are some exceptions.

Students engaged in co-curricular travel in Davidson or one of the contiguous counties may be excused from completing the form in circumstances where the travel is incidental (e.g., picking up materials from local merchants, or running other errands), or may be required to complete the form only once for recurring activity.

Even in these cases, completion of the Student Travel Forms is required if one or more of the following conditions is relevant:

  • Travel involving an overnight stay
  • Travel between the hours of 11pm and 6am
  • Travel to sites with hazardous materials
  • Travel with “destination risk:”
  • Disaster zones
  • High crime areas
  • Programs and experiences addressing populations under stress (the homeless, the incarcerated, or the medically at risk)
  • Protest sites and demonstrations
  • Remote areas (more than 60 miles from the nearest hospital)

Students using their own vehicles for sanctioned co-curricular travel must have a valid driver’s license, and must complete the University’s driver training. Students using their own vehicles must be insured, and must understand that they themselves are the “primary insurers,” in the event of accidents. A “primary insurer” responds first to any auto insurance claim. Secondary insurers respond only after the primary insurance is exhausted.

Students traveling for co-curricular programs are not excused from class or work associated with class.

Back to Top ]

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, and of those, activities permitted by University policy. Individuals and groups must conform to local licensing laws and University trademark and licensing policies. 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, businesses, or individuals unaffiliated with the University unless a business activity is associated with a University program, organization, or department and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee or relevant department. Facilities of the campus, including but not limited to residence halls, Alumni Hall, Rand Terrace, Sarratt Student Center | Rand Hall, the Student Life Center, the Commons Center, E. Bronson Ingram, and the Kissam Center, 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 and approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. If sales are to occur, the business must complete a “Premises License Agreement” in advance, outlining the responsibilities of the business, including the remittance of taxes associated with the contemplated sales. If a non-Vanderbilt business intends to sell food, the sale must also be approved by Campus Dining. The University may not receive any portion of proceeds from sales or collect fees, unless the sales have been approved in advance by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee. If sales are approved and the University receives a fee or percentage of sales, the funds received must be deposited into University accounts and be reported to the Department of Finance through standard procedures. 
  • 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 the athletics department.
  • Arrangements for sale of event tickets through the Sarratt Box Office may be made through Student Centers.
  • Arrangements for solicitation in Sarratt Center | Rand Hall or on Rand Terrace, by registered organizations or by University departments, are made with Student Centers. 
  • 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, U.S. 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.
  • 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 of sale of event tickets 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 in their respective chapter houses.
  • 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 is expressly open to non-VU community members and the event is approved by the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
  • Registered student organizations may engage in the distribution of items for a suggested donation when the funds raised 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 distribution must comply with University policies regarding the ordering of merchandise and licensing. With the exception of event tickets, organizations are prohibited from offering items for sale in a physical location. Locations for distribution for donation or sale must be arranged through the Student Centers office. (See also the section on Event Management in Chapter 6 , Alcohol and Other Drugs .)
  • The location of the sale(s) must be approved by Student Centers.
  • Registered student organizations may engage in the sale of items in the online marketplace with approval of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee.
  • 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 of any kind.
  • 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.
  • Fundraising events—or “bar nights”—in “limited service restaurants” (bars)—as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102—or at any location where money is collected at the door, or through any other arrangement, with an establishment involving financial transactions that circumvent the University’s accounting system, are prohibited. In addition, co-sponsorships of any sort with—or from—a business or establishment with alcohol sales accounting for more than 50 percent of total business transactions (“bar” as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102) are prohibited.
  • Service auctions must comply with the conditions delineated, below.


Student organizations should prepare their budgets to meet their annual needs, and participate in the annual Student Services Fee allocation process. However, there may be times when new organizations form after the process has been concluded, when a new initiative arises, or when an unanticipated opportunity presents itself. Registered student organizations seeking co-sponsorships for programs or events have several options.

The Student Services Fee Contingency Fund provides limited support for new organizations that were not eligible to participate in the annual activity fee allocation process, and for established organizations with new initiatives or unexpected circumstances. The application form is available in the Forms section on the VSG Anchor Link page.

Vanderbilt Student Government also administers co-sponsorship funding, the application for which may also be found in the Forms section of the VSG Anchor Link page.

The Office of the Dean of Students has no central funding for co-sponsorships, but a number of its component departments do maintain limited co-sponsorship budgets. Student organization leaders may apply for co-sponsorship funds by completing the application in the Forms section of the Dean of Students Anchor Link page.

Please note that student organizations may not approach offices outside the scope of the Dean of Students, more than one department within the Dean of Students operation, academic departments, or other programs, services, and centers across the University, for financial co-sponsorships. Students who believe that a particular department or office might be interested in its program initiative, or who wish to inquire whether a particular academic department routinely supports a particular organization, should consult either their own coaches within the Dean of Students offices, or (if their coaches work elsewhere), the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service.

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 distribution of items for suggested donation for fund raising when raised funds are solely for the organization or its charity and are deposited into the organization’s University account. Students must make arrangements with Student Centers to reserve a table or room to sell tickets or distribute items.

Students must secure the approval of the Dean of Students or the Dean’s designee in order to sell or deliver items door-to-door in campus residences.

Organizations wishing to sell event tickets using the Commodore Card must make arrangements with the Sarratt Box Office for TicketWeb setup, and must comply with the requirements for such sales. TicketWeb may be used for ticket sales, only. There is no option for sale of items or collecting donations on the card.

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.

Distribution of items for a suggested donation and other 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 Organizations website.

Service Auctions

The auction of services to other students, to faculty, staff, and other members of the Vanderbilt community is permitted within the following limitations:

Only specific services may be offered (e.g., a car wash, the preparation of a meal). The offering of unspecified labor—for either a specific period of time, or an open-ended period—is prohibited

Offering services that require a license (haircuts, manicures, massages, etc.), is prohibited, as is the offering of services that are in violation of the law or University policy, and services that potentially endanger the health, safety, or well-being of students or others.

The “auction” of individuals is prohibited, as is the auction of unspecified services of individuals.

Advertising and promotional materials for service sales and auctions must list the services on offer.

Advertising and promotional materials must provide the name of the organization(s) receiving the funds raised.

The Dean of Students reserves the option of denying approval of, or canceling, events whose arrangements fail to comply with the delineated limitations or which seek to circumvent their purpose.

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 Office of Annual Giving holds access to 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 the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service to determine if there is a list of its organization's alumni. If such a list exists, the registered student organization must complete the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in Anchor Link for review by the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service and the Office of Annual Giving. If approved, the mailing data will be provided. The Office of Annual Giving requires two week’s notice to process requests, so student organizations should submit requests to the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service at least four weeks in advance.

Provided mail and email lists are made available by the Office of Annual Giving for one-time use, only. Once the fundraising project is complete, or a list has been held for more than thirty days, the list is out of date and must be discarded. If after thirty days the project has not been completed, a new list must be requested. By statute, the University is required to update alumni, parent, and friend communications preferences (such as mail or email subscription drops), continually. Using an out-of-date list subjects the University to the risk of potential violation of statutes such as the CAN-SPAM Act.

Registered student organizations may obtain authorization to solicit funds from the parents of its membership by submitting the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in Anchor Link. 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. The Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service will forward the proposal to the Office of Annual Giving 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 must complete the Fundraiser/Solicitation Form in Anchor Link for review by the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service and the Office of Gift Processing. If authorization is granted, the organization is limited to soliciting those merchants whose names appear on a list provided by the Office of Annual Giving, and must instruct donors to send contributions to the Office of Gift Processing.  Organizations will be limited to two requests per academic year.

2. 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 for 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, or “limited service restaurants” (bars) as defined by Tennessee statute TCA 57-4-102, 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 the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service once co-sponsorship plans are approved. The sponsoring organization must instruct co-sponsoring agencies to send contributions to Gift Processing.

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 615-322-2631 is a good resource for additional information.

Soliciting for Charity

Registered student organizations may solicit the student body for charitable purposes. The following guidelines apply:

  • Net funds remaining after expenses (if any) have been paid must be submitted to the charitable organization on whose behalf they were raised.
  • Financial reports of expenses, income, donations, sales, and disbursements must be made available to Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, and the appropriate student governing body upon request.
  • The collection of entry or admission fees for events such as fun runs and walks, fundraising performances or concerts, etc., is allowable, as are drawings for door prizes awarded to individuals present, 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 corrective action by the Office of Student Accountability, Community Standards, and Academic Integrity and the student governing bodies with jurisdiction. The organization may also lose its registration

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.

The Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service has responsibility for effecting compliance with 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 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.

Registered student organizations that wish to engage in charitable giving must complete a Charitable Contribution Form for review and approval. Charitable contributions may only be made to non-profit entities with missions consistent with those of Vanderbilt University. Student Services Fee allocations or funds provided to a student organization by the University may not be used for charitable contributions. Further, student organizations may not collect donations through platforms such as GoFundMe, Venmo, and similar type products as these must be connected to off-campus banking accounts and are prohibited.

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.

Soliciting for Religious Activities

The University Chaplain and Director of Religious Life coordinates religious activities. Student religious groups, after being registered by the Office of Student Organizations, Leadership and Service, will be assisted by the Office of the University Chaplain and 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 or staff coaches. 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 “Communication and Promotion” 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 the University Chaplain and Religious Life.

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 Career Center, 220 Student Life Center, 615-322-2750. 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 To post part-time jobs or student employment jobs electronically, employers should call Student Employment in the Financial Aid Office at 615-322-3591 or visit the website. Failure to comply with these guidelines may result in the prohibition of future recruiting activities by the offending organization.

[ Back to Top ]

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 in Anchor Link 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, or the hospital. 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 Experience.

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, Intercultural Greek, 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 Housing and Residential Experience).

[ Back to Top ]